Today Governor Dayton honored students, teachers, and schools. Dayton slayed the Education Omnibus monster. Recall that the Republican omnibus bill impacted the poorest, most disadvantaged kids the most. Some schools were foreseeing cuts of over $1,000 per student.
Governor Dayton immediately recognized and gave credit for compromises already made, and places they could find compromise in the future. Dayton stepped already signed an alternative licensure bill that was not supported by some of his biggest backers. Dayton has shown he is willing to make compromises and meet challenges where they are. What Dayton refused to do, however, was compromise the state’s future.
Please join me after the break for highlights of Dayton’s veto letter.
The bottom line, and Dayton’s strong principles are clear.
Each of us started our budget proposals by making a choice. I chose a balanced approach to our budget; one that included both significant cuts, but asked the top two percent of Minnesotans to pay more to ensure our quality of life and the services that millions of Minnesotans depend on. My approach chooses not to balance the budget on the backs of the other 98 percent of Minnesotans
The biggest problem Dayton seems to have is that the Republican’s bill pits student against student in a battle for funding. The GOP Bill cuts funding by $44 million dollars, and shifts funds from the most disadvantaged, voiceless citizens in order to appease those who might protest. The bill also cuts special education funding. These programs are mandatory, so districts will have no choice but to redirect funds from general education. these cuts also affect urban districts much, much more as they have larger numbers of special education mandates.
As horrible as what is in the bill, is what’s not. Disgracefully, Minnesota is one of the few states that only funds half day kindergarten. With students who start their school careers at a deficit, all day kindergarten is a far more effective way to get them started on track instead of playing catch up years later. Optional all day kindergarten funding was part of Dayton’s request, and nowhere to be seen in the bill. You can read about the obvious, obvious benefits of all day kindergarten Here,, or Here.
Dayton really hammers the Republican plan for being punitive, controversial, and having no basis in research. The Republican ideas are not reform. They are not reformers. They are making a purely ideological power grab and Dayton knows it. Dayton’s Education Omnibus veto is consistent with his budget principles.
At the end, Dayton states the obvious:
Compromise means we have to agree to some things we don’t agree with