To the Editor:
I’m writing today in regards to Representative Bob Barrett and education. I believe that on a local level in North Branch, education is one of the most important issues in this upcoming election. Bob Barrett claims that he’s for “world class schools”. Considering the actions he has taken, I have to wonder what schools in the world he wants Minnesota schools to be like. He had the opportunity to work towards a real plan to pay back the 2.4 billion dollar school shift, but instead he opted to author a bill to take one percent from every other state budget area and use that money to payback the shift. His plan, his bill, would take twenty years to payback the shift. Twenty years. A whole generation of students getting an underfunded education. And the money for this 20 year payback would be taken out of funds for departments that are already hurting for funds, like nursing homes, prison guards and higher education. This is a “solution” that works for no one.
As far as Rep. Barrett’s desire to build world-class schools, it’s pretty difficult to do this on $50 increase to the formula. A less than one percent increase over the present amount! That barely covers the interest on what districts have been forced to borrow to cover the payments they didn’t get on time due to budgeting hijinks at the state level. Bob did author a bill that could have potentially helped schools but he included no means to pay for it, and this is the kicker, he submitted it after the deadline. How serious can you be if you cannot even make the deadline?
North Branch schools are starting their third year of four-day school weeks, and every year more students leave the district for that reason-taking scarce funds with them. Every year there are more cuts resulting in bigger classes, higher fees for activities, fewer electives, and more cuts loom on the horizon if nothing changes. North Branch schools do not need more empty election year promises. North Branch Schools need action-North Branch Schools need real solutions. We do not get world class schools just by merely saying we want them Representative Barrett.
Susan Anderson, North Branch