MREA exists to advocate for Greater Minnesota schools and creating bright futures for students across rural Minnesota. But we cannot do it alone. It is only possible through our relationships and collaboration with leaders at the Capitol and in our communities. One of those leaders who have made an enormous contribution is Senator LeRoy Stumpf.

stumpf-portraitFrom championing all-day kindergarten, sparsity and general education revenue, Senator Stumpf was there to ensure equitable funding for rural children. MREA recognized Stumpf with the 2016 Distinguished Service Award last Monday at the MREA Annual Conference awards banquet.

A farmer by trade, Senator Stumpf was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1980 and then to the Minnesota State Senate in 1982.  He spent much of his legislative career working to better the K-12 and Higher Education systems and leading the related committees.

While largely unnoticed by many, it was Senator Stumpf who fought for state law requiring that school aid payments, when shifted during recessions, be automatically repaid when budget forecasts returned to surplus. This may seem like an esoteric accomplishment, but the importance of this legislation to the long-term stability of K-12 funding can’t be overstated.

More recently, Senator Stumpf had the vision to call for a state task force charged with delving into school facility financing. His forethought to look into this issue produced Long-Term Facility Maintenance revenue and efforts to create a fairer state share of school facility costs through proposed programs like Ag2School and improved Debt Service Equalization.