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Reader Opinion: Funding for our future

Not too many years ago our state faced huge economic hurdles and budget deficits. Through that most difficult period in state finances the Legislature was either able to prevent cuts or provide minimal increase to the K-12 funding formula to help...

Not too many years ago our state faced huge economic hurdles and budget deficits. Through that most difficult period in state finances the Legislature was either able to prevent cuts or provide minimal increase to the K-12 funding formula to help school funding try to keep up with CPI increases. In 2011, for example, legislators were responsible to their youngest constituents by coming through with a 1 percent increase on the funding formula.

The most recent reports indicate the state has $1.8 billion surplus. Based on present legislation and/or budget targets, the education of K-12 students will be adversely impacted as the budget priorities have changed from those of legislators back in 2011, who were able to fund a 1 percent per student increase (when times were really tough). Currently, the House has proposed to give our schools just a 0.6 percent per student increase, the Senate and governor are at a 1 percent increase. When we had huge deficits we received minimal increases above the levels in House and at the level of the Senate and the governor; and each of these increases is significantly less than annual increase in the CPI.

These levels of funding will further negatively impact the quality of education for our students as school boards across the state are preparing to respond with layoffs and budget cuts. I ask you, if we can make our students the number one priority in the bad times, why are elected officials choosing to short change them in good times? As a parent, citizen, taxpayer, small business owner and educator I encourage you to write your local legislators and the governor in support of greater increases to the K-12 public education funding formula.

Tim Edinger

Nisswa

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