School funding the issue
Panel discussion scheduled in light of projected deficit
Anyone interested in the Rochester public schools should attend a public forum scheduled Thursday at the Edison Administration Building, 615 Seventh St. S.W.
The forum, starting at 7 p.m., is entitled "Rochester Legislative Forum on Education …; everychild. onevoice.''
It is sponsored by the Rochester Area Council PTSA and the Rochester Chamber of Commerce and will focus on the outlook for future school funding. That is a key issue now in view of the projected state deficit.
Bob Groettum, chairman of the board of the Chamber of Commerce, will give opening remarks and Paul Bourgeois, director of business services for the Rochester School District, will give a brief overview of K-12 funding.
Four members of the Legislature will offer brief remarks and will answer questions from the audience. They are State Sens. Sheila Kiscaden and Kenric Scheevel and State Reps. Fran Bradley and Bill Kuisle.
; Jane Belau will serve as moderator and Sue Nielsen, sixth-grade teacher at Kellogg Middle School, will offer closing remarks. Nielsen was the winner of the Milken Award, a national recognition of outstanding service as a teacher.
School funding has become a contentious issue in Minnesota. Gov. Jesse Ventura has made critical remarks about the level of school spending, but most school officials view the problem as a result of inadequate school funding over the past decade.
Another problem is that schools are mandated by the state and federal governments to maintain certain standards for special education, but the federal government has not followed through on a pledge to pay 40 percent of the costs. As a result, general revenues must be used to pay for special education.
In addition, the schools are affected by a growing public resistance to taxation. This is a difficult issue because only about 20 percent of the families in the community have children in the public schools.
Many business leaders, however, have taken the position that the community's future depends on adequate school funding to build an educated work force and to provide skilled workers for an expanded number of jobs.
The discussion Thursday night is expected to cover these issues and offers an opportunity for voters to have their say on the future of Rochester's schools.
(For more information, call Ann Lynch at 281-9297).