School shift was not up-down vote

Published 10:46 am Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I’m writing in response to Ryan Furlong’s July 13 article, “Murray refused to compromise.” I think Rep. Rich Murray has been a challenge for the DFL.

With the help of a researcher, I will point out some interesting facts.

First of all, the Freeborn County DFL Party continues to make the school shift sound like some cruel and unusual punishment that first came into existence last year. (What is a school shift? Under last session’s new law, this means schools receive 60 percent of their expected revenue during the current biennium and 40 percent the next biennium. Two years ago when the DFL ran the Legislature, they chose to enact a 70-30 split.) Gov. Mark Dayton proposed a 50/50 shift at one point in the budget negotiations — a move that would have borrowed hundreds of millions more from the schools — but that offer was rejected by GOP leadership.

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Thanks to dozens of government reforms that Murray and GOP enacted into law, Minnesota’s economy improved dramatically, and the $5.1 billion deficit that precipitated the school funding shift extension became a $1.2 billion surplus in just one year. Most of the surplus was used to replenish Minnesota’s $318 million was used to repay the school shift extension.

In a perfect world, Rich Murray would not support a continued government shutdown or a funding shift.

Let’s stop pretending that a school shift extension was a simple up or down vote for Rich. This provision was just one piece of a comprehensive education funding proposal that takes care of Minnesota’s K-12 education needs for two years.

What else was included in this proposal? Along with funding increases for all Minnesota schools was an additional $300,000 for the Albert Lea School District. Thank you, Rich Murray, for your persistence.


Katie Jacobsen

Albert Lea