Last week’s letter regarding Barrett bill

To the editor

The letter writer from last week was in error about information he shared with community members regarding Rep. Barrett’s ongoing attempts to help local schools through his BEEF Bill (Bill for Equity in Education Funding).

North Branch’s school superintendent testified on behalf of Barrett’s fair funding bill last year. The bill, just like many education bills, gets funded in the same way school integration aid gets funded and school transportation gets funded, through the omnibus education bill. It doesn’t get funded through taking from other districts as the letter writer mistakenly said. Barrett’s bill does allocate funding in a better, more thoughtful way, however.

Schools for Equity in Education (SEE), an organization that North Branch school district contributes to financially, testified in favor of Barrett’s bill this year and called it “elegantly simple,” what a refreshing change in government, don’t you think? North Branch school board members individually helped title the bill but took no action collectively on this, or any other legislation, per long established school board policy. The idea for the bill originated in North Branch by a former board member, me, during discussions with Rep. Barrett and community members at a local legislative action group meeting. Barrett created a bill from the local idea intended to help North Branch and other low funded school districts.

The letter writer from last week didn’t participate in any of these meetings to help North Branch schools, didn’t testify at the Capitol either for or against Barrett’s bill giving his reasons in a thoughtful manner, but now feels his “contribution” to the effort is to use our schools for his own partisan agenda by dismissing the efforts of those, like Rep. Barrett, who are working hard to help our schools.

Trent Jensen

North Branch City Council

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