Update for November 2008 — From Mary Cecconi, Executive Director
If this is your first update from Parents United, welcome!
If you have been with us throughout the last six years, thank you!
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“The more informed citizens we have speaking out for public schools, the louder our voices become and the more likely we are to drive positive change. Parents United helps bring these voices to the places where decisions are made.”
— Christy Hlavacek, Board President
The elections are over and some may hope things will quiet down, but this is when we need to gear up for the 2009 Legislative Session. The session begins on January 2 and that day will be here very soon! One thing that you can do right now is send congratulatory notes to your local legislators. They have worked very hard for these positions and now is the time to connect with them.
The 2009 Legislative Session is a funding year for our schools, yet I am hearing that with financial times as tough as they are, schools will not see any relief. I am hearing that this will be a policy session, not a funding session, because “policies don’t cost money.” I beg to differ. Our political leaders have been able to muster the will to bail out institutions deemed “too big to fail,” yet once again we are being told that our children must wait.
Governor Pawlenty has already put out his call to all Commissioners for 5% across the board cuts! Our schools simply cannot thrive — and in some cases, survive — in this environment. Take a look at McLeod West, a district whose very existence was dependent on the passage of a local levy on November 4. That levy failed. The district will be dissolved.
And yet: The Clean Water Amendment passed. Legislators strongly supportive of schools, elected to House seats in 2006, were returned to office this week. An override veto in the 2008 session to increase the gas tax for our crumbling infrastructure was accomplished. Surely these are all signs that Minnesotans are willing to step to the plate for the essentials that make Minnesota great, and education is definitely on top of that list!
We need to have that message heard loud and clear in the halls of the Capitol and that is where we need you. We need your help to reach more parents. In the coming months, we will be asking your help to double our database. We will be asking you to stay connected — to get others connected — to Learn-Network-ACT.
We have worked very hard and are very proud of having advocates in every one of the 134 legislative districts in the state, but we need more. It is a numbers game and we need to show our elected officials just how important it is for Minnesota to return to its leadership role in education by having the numbers to prove it. We’ll be in touch!
“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
This poster was produced in 2003 and many of our children who were in school at that time have graduated. Are we really going to waste more time? Our children have only this one opportunity to master first grade…fifth grade…calculus….
In this issue
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MSBA’s referendum result survey – 2008 Operating, Bond and Capital Facilities Results Show 22 Districts passing at least 1 operating levy question, 19 fail; 7 of 13 bond and capital facilities projects (54 percent) were approved, MSBA. In total, 17 districts passed every referenda question, five districts had split results.
Why do districts need levies?
August 18, 2008 – School Districts Falling Further Behind Financially – It’s a number that should make Minnesotans cringe: four out of five Minnesota school districts have dropped in real per-pupil revenue since 2003. That means 80% of our schools are trying to do more with less but it’s not working. Our schools are falling behind, Minnesota 2020 (2003-2009 District Data; Background Information).
President-elect Barack Obama on Education – Key priorities: Reform No Child Left Behind, invest in early childhood education, make college affordable to all Americans, Obama’s Campaign Site.
October 17, 2008 – Principles for a Fair Federal Budget and Tax System – Federal budget decisions also affect the State of Minnesota’s budget. One-fifth of Minnesota’s revenue comes from federal dollars. The Minnesota Budget Project put forth a set of four principles that federal policymakers should use to evaluate tax and budget proposals. (More from the Minnesota Budget Project.)
Stay up-to-the-minute on Minnesota and national education news:
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Questions? Email Mary Cecconi
Parents United for Public Schools
1667 Snelling Avenue N., St. Paul, MN 55108
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