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Letter: Reform, fairness are focus of K-12 finance plan

To the editor,

The guiding principle for the Minnesota House Education Finance Committee this year was simple: Kids first, no exceptions, no excuses. And if we're going to put kids first, we have to recognize that every student should be treated fairly by our funding system no matter where they live. For too many years, education leaders have not supported this basic fact of education. Those years are over.

This year, the Minnesota House passed an education funding bill that puts new money into the basic per-student formula, meaning it benefits every student equally. This is a sea change from recent years when money went into formulas specially designed to benefit some districts more than others. Unfortunately for suburban Minnesota, those districts were confined to the cities. But with a new crop of education leaders, suburban Minnesota finally has the voices it needs for fair, equitable education funding.

Representative Kurt Bills is one of these emerging leaders, and I have been fortunate to work with him as chair of the Education Finance Committee. Representative Bills brings an enormous amount of knowledge and experience to our committee from the best source: his own classroom. His experience as a teacher has been invaluable to us as we put our funding and policy reforms together. His constituents can be assured that he is doing great work on their behalf and on behalf of students.

Pat Garofalo

State Representative, District 36B

Chair, House Education Finance Committee