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Rep. Ben Lien, Moorhead, Published September 18 2013

Letter: Good news for Minn. schools

As school buses are beginning to roll through our neighborhoods again, I can’t think of a better time to give an update on what new E-12 education policies enacted by the Legislature will mean for the Moorhead School District. The biggest impact will be $3.2 million in new money going to the district over the 2014-15 biennium, with specific dedications for all-day kindergarten and special education.

Because the all-day kindergarten dollars from the state don’t kick in until fall 2014, I give a lot of credit to Superintendent Lynne Kovach, Assistant Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak and the entire Moorhead School District for taking the lead and implementing all-day kindergarten a year early. In Moorhead, 492 kindergarten students were enrolled in all-day classes at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

The district will also see an additional $887,000 over the 2014-15 biennium in referendum levy aid (this was included in the Omnibus Tax Bill). In addition to these implications for Moorhead, the Legislature is paying back money borrowed from schools across the state. This year, $463 million will go toward paying back the school shift, while the remaining $400 million will be paid back next year.

Other good news for schools around the state is the frozen tuition for all Minnesota State Colleges and University system and University of Minnesota institutions. This is coupled with new state law to perform better scrutiny of these institutions’ budgets each biennium.

Lien, DFL-Moorhead, represents District 4A in the Minnesota House.