Walz answers student questions, pledges education support in visit

Published 7:59 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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By Elizabeth Shockman, Minnesota Public Radioi News

Minnesota students had a chance to ask the governor their own questions on Tuesday when Gov. Tim Walz visited Lake Middle School in Woodbury on Tuesday.

“What’s it like to be governor?” one asked.

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“Can I take a selfie with you?” another said.

“Are you and Scott Jensen friends?” one student wanted to know.

“This is a good question,” Walz said in reply to the question about former Republican gubernatorial candidate, Scott Jensen. “I think on behalf of our entire political system, we owe you an apology. Because it pains me that these have become so terrible, so nasty.”

In the end, the DFL governor said he was in fact friends with Jensen, and they worked together.

“We’ve got to do better about saying, ‘You know, I disagree,’” Walz said.

During his visit to Lake Middle, which recently received a national blue ribbon distinction, Walz said he wanted to move forward on school funding during the upcoming legislative session.

“We would like to shift some of the school funding to make sure the state’s able to pick some of that up and take it off the property tax burden to provide some security in that,” Walz said.

Last year he put forward his Due North plan, which, among other priorities, lays out a plan to reform the state’s school finance system. 

That plan proposes restoring the equal basic revenue per pupil, regardless of zip code to 60 percent of general revenue as well as targeting revenue to certain areas where test scores reveal an opportunity gap.

Other priorities Walz mentioned were funding programs to recruit and retain more teachers of color, improve literacy programs and looking at the possibility of universal school lunches.

“We wanted universal meals, we want to get that there. I am still concerned about, if you will, the microeconomics on families around inflation,” Walz said “Families are still struggling on this and I think we need to get some money back in the hands of people in the form of checks to address inflation.”