September 5, 2006

September 5, 2006


September 5, 2006 Update — From Mary Cecconi, Executive Director


Important Dates

September 22, 2006
Minnesota Education Summit
At the Minneapolis Convention Center
“Minnesota Schools: Does Public Policy Reflect Public Values?” 

November 7, 2006
Election Day

Give a “boost” to Parents United
On September 17, Parents United will be participating in a fundraiser through the Walk for Justice. Please consider sponsoring one of our walkers to help support the work we do. Click here to see who is walking with us; click on any name to make a donation. Your help is important to us and we appreciate it! 

Great Schools Begin at the Ballot Box
Wow! What an election year in Minnesota! As we prepare for a critical funding year for our public schools, there are 201 seats to fill in the Minnesota Legislature for 2007, as well as all five of our state level offices — Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor. And at the federal level we have a very hotly contested Senate seat and eight congressional seats. This is a year where every seat but one is up for re-election. More that 400 candidates will be running for public office between now and November 7.

One way that you can be an effective advocate is to get involved in a campaign. Choose a candidate that you support and help them win the election. Elected officials remember the people who helped their campaign. It’s a great way to begin building relationships with your elected officials.

Also, know where each of these candidates stands on public school issues. Check our website for questions you can ask your candidate. Download them and carry them with you to ask those folks at a forum or just at the grocery store.

Local Levies
So many of you are working feverishly to pass local levies. If you need help, you may want to check out our website for information–or call to talk!

We understand how difficult it is to explain that after the state “gave” schools 4% on the formula local districts still need to go to their voters for levies. We have been telling people, since the 2005 omnibus bill was passed, that even though the bill provided schools with the largest single increase in funding in 14 years, much of that funding was reliant on local property tax increases. It is important that as you go to your community they understand that you are using the mechanism that the state provided to you to gain the necessary dollars for your schools.

MNVest
During the next two months, you will hear an enormous amount about the Minnesota Transportation Amendment that will be on the ballot this year. It seeks to dedicate 100% of the existing sales tax on all motor vehicles to transportation projects. Most Minnesotans are surprised that currently only 54% of that tax is spent on transportation projects and so this sounds like a good thing to do.

The proponents of this amendment are making the case–correctly–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” *. 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, “What will be used to fill that hole, if this amendment passes?”

*AAA Living Sept/Oct 06

Alliance for Student Achievement Minnesota Education Summit
“Minnesota Schools: Does Public Policy Reflect Public Values?”

The fifth annual Minnesota Education Summit will explore the relationship between public policy affecting Minnesota’s public schools and public values and expectations. It will be held on Friday, September 22 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. To make the Summit more affordable and accessible, the Alliance will offer scholarships that will help defray the cost for parents of Minnesota K-12 students. This will make the final cost $35.

This is a bargain and a wonderful event! The highlights alone for this Summit are worth the price of admission! This will be one of the first full gubernatorial debates you will see featuring four candidates–Mike Hatch, Peter Hutchinson, Tim Pawlenty and Ken Pentel. We will also hear from former governors Wendell Anderson and Al Quie who will reflect on the future of public schools and our state’s legacy of support for our public schools. Come join us for this terrific event! Click here for registration information. Questions? Contact the Minnesota PTA at 651-999-7320 or 800-672-0993.

Questions? mary@parentsunited.org

 



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