MREA asked members last week to contact their legislators and ask them to support a larger budget target for education than Governor Dayton had proposed in January. In the days to come after Governor Dayton announces his budget changes, DFL leaders in the House will unveil their budget targets for each major spending category (education, health & human services, transportation, jobs, etc).
Several of the education lobbying groups met with Chairman Paul Marquart last week about his plans for pushing a larger budget target. He said it would soon be his turn in the barrel with leadership to make a case for more spending on E-12 than Dayton proposed. He asked those present about what our members would do with more money on formula or in other areas, and specifically related to closing the achievement gap.
We explained to him that all day kindergarten funding is crucial to this effort and additional funding will go a long way toward avoiding budget cuts and a loss of teacher and support staff needed to work with students. Technology improvements could be made that could help engage the next generation of students to take ownership of their education. Career and Technical education programs could be added and math and reading interventions were mentioned. Funding to properly implement evaluations should help improve teacher quality. There were no shortage of ideas of where new dollars might go.
What Chairman Marquart needs you to do, if you want more than 1% in the first year, is to contact your legislators if you haven’t done so already and urge them to support a larger education target.