Setting the Record Striaght

A recent opinion piece in the Sun Post rebukes union apologist Sandra Peterson (DFL 45A).

Residents need to look further into budget

To the editor:

Now that the weather has started to behave like summer, I think most people find themselves busy with parties, picnics and yard work.  The weather is too nice and time is too precious to do research into the details of the state budget. That’s why I think the letter last week from Rep. Sandra Peterson does a disservice to your paper’s readership.

She claimed that the budget passed by the Legislature contained cuts to K-12 education.  But the facts are that the Omnibus Education Bill, vetoed by Gov. Dayton, increased spending by almost $1 billion. Any “cuts” were either a reprioritization of spending or a reduction in the rate of spending increases.

Furthermore, based on the conference report from this bill, all five school districts within Senate District 43 would have seen additional dollars by 2013. These amounts proposed to come to our area ranged from $212 per pupil in the Wayzata district up to $434 per pupil for Robbinsdale.

I don’t think it’s accurate to call an additional $212 per pupil – or more – as a “cut.”  In addition to increased funding, the Omnibus Education Bill also included many educational reforms, such as repealing the Jan. 15 deadline for contract negotiations, categorizing teachers as essential employees, and allowing local control of staff development funds. These are reforms that the schools districts requested.

We’re all busy, myself included, but I respectfully request your readers look beyond undocumented claims and allow facts to shape the budget discussions.

Norann Dillon Plymouth

Yes, the Republican budget included INCREASES in the general fund (something the “education party” didn’t do in the previous legislature, must have been Pawlenty’s fault) and provided much needed  mandate relief especially removing the pro-union January 15 deadline and the 2% set aside for staff development.  Integration Aid is being changed and special spending is being frozen (remember that’s money on top of the general fund).

But, to union apologists like Sandra Peterson and the LAC-DFL any freeze is a cut, any reform is a cut, and one nickel short of what the unions think they are entitled to is a cut.

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