October 1, 2009

/ 1 October 2009 / Parents United
October 1, 2009

Update for October 1, 2009 — From Mary Cecconi, Executive Director

If this is the first Parents United Legislative Update you are receiving — welcome!
If you have been with us over the last seven years — thank you.

In This Issue

What is Happening?
At the Capitol
What Can I Do?

“These are all our children and we
will profit by or pay for whatever they become.”

— James Baldwin

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What is Happening

Hear from Republican Candidates for Governor 
Minnesota is the only state in the union without a State Board of Education or an elected Commissioner of Education. In Minnesota, the Commissioner of Education is appointed by the Governor. This means whomever we elect as Governor has an enormous impact on our schools. For this reason, we need to be fully aware of who wishes to hold that position. This Friday (tomorrow!) presents a unique opportunity to hear from the Republican candidates for the office of Governor.

All current Republican candidates for Governor will be in attendance Friday, October 2, 2009, 7 p.m., in St. Paul to answer your questions the night before the 2009 Republican State Convention. There is a charge and registration required for this event.

Read an interesting overview of Minnesota’s commitment to school funding

“Minnesota — the ‘brain power’ state, the bright Star of the North — spends less on public elementary and secondary education than the U.S. average. Over the last decade, Minnesota’s public school current spending has gone from significantly above the U.S. average to modestly below.” – Jeff Van Wychen

Take a look at what former Minnesota leaders have to say about our current financial challenges. A statement on Minnesota’s financial challenge was signed by three former governors, six former speakers and three former majority leaders. Read the entire statement.

“Minnesota faces an unprecedented financial challenge. The Minnesota Budget Trends Study Commission (made up of tri-partisan appointments by the governor, house and senate), the state economist and state demographer, and non-partisan legislative researchers have all documented the nature and depth of our financial challenge.

“Both in the near term and over the long-run, expenditures will continue to significantly exceed revenue. This structural imbalance in Minnesota’s budget is unsustainable, and must be addressed to secure the future of our state.”

And In the Trenches
57 school districts are attempting operating levies this year. There are 341 school districts in the state and prior to 1991 fewer than half of those districts had operating levies. Today over 90% of school districts have levies in place.

The other number to keep in mind is the rate of increase in the per pupil formula — the state determined formula from which districts receive the lion’s share of expendable dollars. Since 1991, the per pupil formula has increased on average 1.5% annually while inflation increased at 3.1% annually.

In this issue


At the Capitol?

Meetings at the Capitol continue during the interim. Integration, shared services and “Race to the Top” grants are at the forefront. We continue to monitor these committee hearings and will bring you pertinent information from them.

Race to the Top dollars are part of the federal stimulus money that is being awarded to states in a competitive granting process. The grantee must be the state’s department of education. The Minnesota Department of Education has been working on a proposal to attain these dollars. This will be an interesting public hearing on Minnesota’s intentions for the dollars. 


What Can I Do?
Now is the time to nominate a teacher for the Teacher of the Year award. If you have a PTA in your building, they also have this information available for you. Now is a great time to reward those great teachers!

Stay connected and help introduce and connect others
to Parents United so we can all Learn—Network—ACT.

In this issue

Childhood has no rewind: Our children cannot go back to grade school and
get another education when times are better and we all have more to give.
When the playground is empty and the children are gone,
either we will have sacrificed for them, or we won’t.”
—from a Parents United poster


Questions? Email Mary Cecconi

Parents United for Public Schools
1667 Snelling Avenue N., St. Paul, MN 55108

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