Swedzinski, Torkelson turn backs on rural schools

To the editor:

The new omnibus Education Finance Bill (HF2400) was passed Tuesday night by the House and it is an excellent example of bipartisan work.

The budget would provide $900 million in new E-12 education investments and includes a variety policies supported by Republican and DFL representatives. The bill passed 78-55, and now it heads to the Senate, where Republican Sen. Carla Nelson is the sponsor.

One of the biggest points of contention in the bill was the general education funding, which will increase by 3 percent in Fiscal Year 2020 and 2 percent in Fiscal Year 2021. This will help rural communities fund badly needed school upgrades.

As House Speaker Melissa Hortman points out: “We don’t believe that school districts should have to turn to property taxes just to fund the basics.”

Unfortunately, 16A Representative Chris Swedzinski and 16B Representative Paul Torkelson voted NO on the Education Finance Bill. They voted NO to our Rural School Districts which are in desperate need of funding to maintain even the basic levels of a quality education.

Reps. Swedzinski and Torkelson have turned their backs on our rural schools. I’m sure they want to wait for an opportunity for a bill that would be more politically savvy for them to support, but the time to fund our schools is now. Stop playing games with rural education.

Ben Walker