October 12, 2006

October 12, 2006


October 12, 2006 Update — From Mary Cecconi, Executive Director


 Important Dates

November 7, 2006
Election Day

November 15, 2006
Conference:
Educating Rural Minnesota’s Children

P.S. Minnesota: Public Schools are not an afterthought

I want to introduce you to the P.S. Minnesota campaign. You will be hearing a lot about this in the coming months. It is a campaign to change the way our schools are funded. Instead of having our school funding determined by how much money is available divided by how many kids we have in the state, an updated funding system would align funding with the actual cost of educating a child in the state of Minnesota. This cost is based on the research done by John Myers and has its beginnings in Governor Pawlenty’s 2003 Education Finance Reform Task Force. This work has been in progress for the last year and a variety of research methodologies have been used to produce the data.

So P.S. Minnesota is the name of the campaign that will be all about updating the current education funding system in the state of Minnesota. A growing coalition of organizations are supporting this campaign and we hope you will join in the conversation! P.S. Minnesota welcomes your stories about your kids and schools. Please visit their web site to learn more about ways you can become more involved in this unique and important initiative!

From the P.S. Minnesota website
While Minnesota continues to be a national leader in most educational quality indicators, worrisome trends indicate our historic leadership is in jeopardy:

  • In 1995, Minnesota ranked 12th in the nation for per pupil spending; in 2003, it ranked 28th – below the national average for the first time ever.
  • In May 2006, Education Week magazine graded Minnesota a “D” with respect to the availability of technology for our students and teachers.
  • Fees paid by students and families (for coursework and extracurricular activities) increased 45 percent from 2002 to 2005, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.
  • In 2004, Minnesota school districts reallocated $378 million in funds meant for regular education instruction to provide state and federally mandated special education programs.

Short Notes and Recaps from Past Updates

MNVest — ASK the Question
The proponents of the Minnesota Transportation Amendment are making the case that the passage of this amendment will “raise a permanent infusion of more than $300 million per year in new revenue for the state’s roads and transit system, without raising taxes” [AAA Living Sept/Oct 06]. But here’s the deal: that $300 million that will be solely dedicated to transportation is now being used by the state to fund our schools and other services We ask, and hope that you will too –“If this amendment passes, what will be used to fill that hole?” Link to the whole story.

Local Levies
Are you working to pass a local levy and want some additional support? Check our website for information–or call to talk!

Candidate Questions
It’s good to know where candidates stand on public school issues. Check our website for questions you can ask your candidates. We hope asking these questions will be helpful as you prepare for the upcoming election. Download them and carry them with you to ask those folks at a forum or just at the grocery store.

Upcoming Events
So many great things are going on around the state — check it out at our Events page.

Questions? mary@parentsunited.org



Parents United for Public Schools
1667 Snelling Ave. N.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108