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GOP bid to give more control to districts to open up schools fails

ST. PAUL — Democrats in the Minnesota House blocked an effort by Republicans to give more local control to school districts when it comes to making decisions on opening up classrooms.

Bill H.F. 10511 would remove Gov. Tim Walz’s ability to unilaterally keep schools closed. It failed on a party-line vote, which disappointed Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent. He said Walz is ignoring the science and is failing to bring teachers and students safely back to the classroom in schools throughout the state.

“We know our children best and it is time that parents, in collaboration with local teachers and school officials, are able to make decisions that meet their particular needs,” Swedzinski said.

“This is all about local control and people being able to make choices regarding the health and welfare of our children instead of those decisions lying in the hands of our governor.”

While many area schools have returned full time, many more remain in part-time or full-time distance learning. Swedzinski said science and data show we can safely get our students back in the classroom. He noted President Joe Biden’s CDC director has said multiple times that we could safely return to in-person learning before all teachers are vaccinated.

“The sad reality is people are concerned about a culture of fear that has been festering in our state over losing state funding for not following the governor’s orders to a ‘T,'” Swedzinski said. “Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of our children.”

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