Providing education is a top priority, if fact, the state constitution requires us to do so. Article XIII Section 1. Uniform system of public schools. " it is the duty of the legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools." Currently, E-12 Education is the largest expenditure of the General Fund, approximately 40%.
All students deserve attention. Some need more than others, a sentiment reinforced by years of youth ministry. Working with troubled youth through extreme sports was incredibly rewarding, and proved a little more work and creative engagement with youth may be what is required for them to experience a break through.
The same methods can be employed in education, and though not necessarily through extreme sports, troubled youth do need more attention. Hence I have advocated alternate schools for years. I believe in re-imbursements to alternative schools for each student who exceeds the expected capacity for learning. For example, a student in an alternative school may need to catch up with their peers in math and so instead of taking the expected math course for the year, they have to take two or two and a half classes. The teacher has to work harder to bring them up to speed, and often more resources are required. Thus they need more money; and economic studies in fact show the return is tremendous. If students in poor situations are able to get back on track and graduate on time, they are more likely to enter the work force and become productive members of society.
Another main aspect of education I worked to revise is the unequal distribution of funding for urban verses suburban schools. Currently, urban schools receive far more funding per student than other areas. There was, at one time, a basis for this, as illustrated above. Those cities had large populations of immigrants and poverty stricken families, and the students entered the school at a disadvantage. Now, many of those populations have moved to suburban areas; in fact the Anoka-Hennepin school district holds the largest population of English as a second language students in the state. However, the funding has not changed with the circumstances, the urban schools still receive more funding per student than suburban districts though the reason they initially did is no longer valid.
Legislation Chief Authored:
86th Session SF 343 Alternative teacher compensation long-term commitment levy. An eligible school district may levy an amount up to $65 times its adjusted marginal cost pupil units for that year. The revenue raised by this levy must be used for the purposes of the alternative teacher compensation.
86th Session SF 344 Compensatory revenue pilot project continuance and appropriation for certain school districts, including $1.5 million for Anoka-Hennepin School District.
86th Session SF 1826 A school board may levy additional money to provide transportation for students facing hazardous transportation conditions.
86th Session SF 1947 School districts debt service equalization aid program equalizing factors indexing.
86th Session (co-author) SF 2331 Explosive growth revenue for school districts. The Elk River School District would receive additional education revenue from this legislation.
85th Session SF 1768 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) revocation and nullification. Opt out of NCLB. 84th Session SF 1239 School districts pupil units and general education basic revenue formula allowance increases.
84th Session SF 1758 Authorizing the purchase of prior service credit in the teachers retirement association (TRA) by a certain person employed by independent school district #11 Anoka-Hennepin.
83rd Session SF 744 Independent school district #15, St. Francis; school property sale proceeds use for student safe walking routes.
83rd Session SF 867 School districts unfunded state mandates compliance exemption.
83rd Session SF 2158 Schools scholars of distinction program expansion and administration.