Today's West Central Tribune staff writer Carolyn Lange reports in DFL and GOP leaders express views of legislative action:
Regarding the education package that provides school districts funding for all-day, everyday kindergarten, Hann said he would have preferred that schools got the additional money for their general fund without being required to spend it on kindergarten.
Hann also questioned claims that all-day, everyday kindergarten would reduce the education achievement gap. He said it hasn't worked in other states.
"If Republicans want to run against all-day, everday kindergarten," said Murphy, pausing a moment as Rep. Mary Sawatzky inserted, "Go for it."
Sawatzky, a teacher and DFLer from Willmar who accompanied Murphy to the Tribune, said the Willmar School District won't have to spend $350,000 on the extra kindergarten days anymore and can instead use that money for other general education programs.
Is Hann running against helping kindergarteners? The Eden Prairie Patch reports in Hann Doesn’t Expect Results From Funding All-Day Kindergarten:
The bill provides $485 million over two years in new spending for public schools. It sets aside $238 million to boost the basic school funding formula, with funding increases of 1.5 percent each year. A new all-day kindergarten program funded by the state will receive $134 million in order to "provide funding for districts that want or need it."
In short, as Sawatzky pointed out, schools can shift resources from paying for all-day kindergarten to other programs.
The last time Hann ran for governor, WDAY Channel 6 reported that Hann said "the state needs to strengthen charter, private, even home schooling." It's curious that Hann includes charter schools in that list, since repeated reviews of charter schools in Minnesota and the nation suggest that if Hann objects to a reform that didn't meet expectations (especially with regard to the achievement gap in the Twin Cities), it's right there in his own laundry list.
We're with Sawatzky on this one: Go for it.
Photo: We're crying too.