Editorial: Our state owes our schoolsMinnesota leaders again have short-changed those citizens who have no political voice — our children. At this point in the session, it appears the state may not be making good on any of its $2.4 billion IOU to school districts.
Minnesota leaders again have short-changed those citizens who have no political voice — our children. At this point in the session, it appears the state may not be making good on any of its $2.4 billion IOU to school districts.
The Minnesota House and Senate, controlled by Republicans, sent a $100 million repayment bill this week to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who promptly vetoed it. The money would have come from state reserves, an act he labeled a “raid” and something Commissioner Jim Schowalter of Minnesota Management and Budget said would have forced the state to take out loans.
Well, what about all those school districts that have had to borrow money because the state continues to delay payments and repayments? Don’t forget that the delayed payments have been going on for several years and 2012 graduates will have gone through their high school careers without full state funding. Just ask 2011 graduates if they felt as prepared as they could have, would have, should have been.
Let’s also remember that students are powerless to correct the problem. State lawmakers and the governor, however, are not.
We urge leaders to try one more time. Negotiate a dollar amount both parties can accept since something would be better than nothing.
If leaders fail to do so, students ultimately may pay the price three times over: first, by receiving a less robust education; second, by being more ill-prepared for college or work and therefore facing more education loans or reduced ability to command a living wage; and third, by having to bear the economic burdens left by state (and national) leaders who not only mortgaged the next generation’s present, but their future as well.
Minnesota lawmakers must meet their long-standing, constitutional obligation to fund basic public education.
— This editorial first appeared in the Red Wing Republican-Eagle