LETTER: On Gov. Dayton’s proposed emergency school aid

To the Editor:

Last week, Gov. Dayton announced his proposal to provide emergency school aid to school districts across the state. Many school districts are projecting budget deficits for the upcoming school year. When schools face deficits, layoffs of teachers, staff members and social workers, increases in class sizes and reduced educational opportunities can often be the outcome. Unfortunately, our local schools are facing a projected budget shortfall of nearly $4 million.

I strongly support Gov. Dayton’s emergency school aid proposal because it would help every school and student in our communities. In fact, the governor’s budget plan would secure approximately $9 million for our schools, helping to fill the projected budget shortfall and funding gaps in special education.

In addition to this funding, Gov. Dayton’s budget and a bill I have authored would make voluntary pre-kindergarten opportunities across Minnesota permanent. Unless the Legislature takes action, some preschoolers in 59 school districts, including schools in our community, would lose preschool opportunities in the 2019-2020 school year.

I am proud of our community’s commitment to strong schools, preschoolers and K-12 students. Education has made our state successful. We won’t continue to lead if we shortchange our students. Securing emergency school aid for our students will help ensure our progress won’t be jeopardized for the sake of tax cuts for corporations, as seen in the current legislative majority’s budget proposal. Preschool and K-12 students deserve every opportunity to succeed and have a bright future.

Rep. Connie Bernardy, District 41A

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