Rep. Lohmer sent Stillwater schools scrambling

As Minnesota schools break for the summer, they leave facing a bleak reality: another year with fewer teachers, overcrowded classrooms and fewer resources – a direct result of the misplaced priorities and wrong decisions made by Rep. Kathy Lohmer and the Republican-controlled legislature.

"Thanks to Rep. Lohmer and her Republican colleagues, Stillwater schools now have larger class sizes and fewer teachers," Carrie Lucking, executive director of the Alliance for a Better Minnesota said. "Rather than force Stillwater schools to make drastic cuts to our children’s education, the legislature’s priority should be making sure our schools are fully funded and our children have the resources needed to learn."

Instead of producing a balanced budget to close the state’s long-term deficit, Rep. Lohmer and legislative Republicans chose a short-term fix and borrowed $700 million from our schools and children, leaving them with a $2 billion IOU and no plan to pay it back. As a result, the state owes the Stillwater Area School District $22.2 million just from last year’s school shift. (Minnesota Department of Education)

These are just some of the ways Rep. Lohmer’s misplaced priorities have sent Stillwater schools scrambling:

n The Stillwater Area School District increased class sizes in grades 4 to 6 as a result of teacher reductions. (Stillwater Patch, 3/10/12)

n The Stillwater Area School District cut 20 staff positions, including an elementary assistant principal, custodians, teachers and support staff. The schools also had to shorten their school day and year in order to save money, meaning kids get less time learning. (Stillwater Patch, 3/10/12)

n The Stillwater Area School District had to borrow $8.2 million. (AMSD, 9/11)

n The Stillwater Area School District had to cut $6.3 million from its 2012-13 school year budget. The district is projecting an $8.5 million deficit for the 2013-14 school year. (Stillwater Gazette, 3/9/12)

n The Stillwater Area School District had to increase fees for student activities, sports and parking permits. (Stillwater Patch, 3/10/12)

Ryan Furlong

St. Paul

Editor’s note: Alliance for a Better Minnesota is a 501c4 online advocacy and communications organization focused on securing major advances in progressive public policy for Minnesota.