Letter: Bills' message was misleadingTo the editor: I am writing in response to Representative Kurt Bills column in the October 6, 2011, edition of the Rosemount Town Pages.
To the editor:
I am writing in response to Representative Kurt Bills column in the October 6, 2011, edition of the Rosemount Town Pages. For the record I am President of the Dakota County United Educators that represent the teachers/nurses of ISD 196 and a resident of House District 37B. Representative Bills doesn’t give his constituents an honest picture of the action that was initiated by the legislature. He glosses over the impact the shift has on ISD 196 and every school district in the state by forcing them to deplete reserves and borrow money to pay for costs.
In fact, ISD 196 would have hired one teacher with the amount of interest paid this past summer. What district residents should know is; the students of Minnesota schools are paying for the Legislature’s unwillingness to address the state budget deficit in a sound fiscal manner. He also uses double accounting when he mentions the increases to the school district. In his column he says the district will receive $166 more in 2012 and $473 more in 2013. What he doesn’t mention is that he is taking credit for items that were not legislated for such as special education growth. Using the traditional methods of reporting he would have stated the district is receiving $60 more in $2012 and $291 more in 2013. Furthermore, most of the money received in 2013 is one-time money that is restricted by law in its use and doesn’t address long term district financial problems. Also interesting is his assertion that this additional money was because of Legislative efforts. Again he distorts the facts. The Republican Legislature stood in the way of the Governor’s efforts all session to increase school funding and reluctantly allowed an increase in this summer’s special session. In fact, it was Governor Dayton who pushed for the additional funding in the special session to offset the interest districts will pay because of the borrowing necessitated by the shift. The constituents of the school district deserve and should expect more from Representative Bills rather than fuzzy facts.
Jim Smola, President Dakota County United Educators