Pauly and Caprini understand district’s challenges

Minneapolis voters, on Nov. 6, have the opportunity to dramatically improve funding for Minneapolis Public School students. Making change means taking a holistic approach to our ballots: voting “yes” twice on the funding referendum — “yes” to increasing the operating levy and “yes” to establishing a technology levy — and electing Kimberly Caprini and Josh Pauly to the MPS Board of Education.

As educators, we witness the limitless potential of MPS students on a daily basis. That potential requires nurturing, and while families and educators are doing our part, state and federal policymakers have turned their backs on our students by knowingly underfunding our schools.

Our state once produced the “Minnesota Miracle” and guaranteed equitable state investment in schools in rural, suburban and urban communities. Since that time, funding has fallen off drastically. Last year, MPS would have received about $22 million in additional general education funding had state funding simply kept up with inflation.

Policymakers are also shirking their commitment to funding critical special education and English learner services. During the 2017-18 school year, MPS received about $60 million less in state and federal funding for this work than it spent on these valuable, federally mandated programs.

The good news is the Minneapolis community values our students and knows we can and should do better. Voting “yes” on both ballot questions and voting for Kimberly Caprini and Josh Pauly will enable MPS to provide, for an average of just $11 per homeowner, per month:

  • more direct educator time in literacy instruction aligned with the district’s new literacy curriculum;
  • a library in every school staffed by a licensed library media specialist;
  • access to culturally relevant materials that support and empower all students;
  • critical student support staff, like counselors, social workers, psychologists and nurses in every building to better address individual student needs and ensure every student has a pathway to reach their full potential;
  • social and emotional learning opportunities to give our students the personal skills, insights and behaviors necessary to succeed;
  • regular maintenance and upgrades of MPS technology systems.

Two MPS at-large School Board candidates share our values. Josh Pauly, a former MPS teacher, and Kimberly Caprini, a longtime MPS parent activist, understand the challenges our district faces. They are committed to ensuring equitable classroom funding, developing the support systems needed for our students to be successful and collaborating with families and the community.

Voting for Pauly and Caprini for school board and voting “yes” twice on the funding referendum means investing in the schools our students deserve.

 

Michelle Wiese

President, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers

  • Harrison

    I don’t think that automatically the teachers union vote of approval is the best filter for school board membership. The unions have not always had the students best interest at heart. Some of us have not forgotten the unions deep throated support of the district moving teachers around to areas where they had no recent experience but aged certification just to preserve the job of more tenured teachers in areas of surplus- forcing the layoffs of younger passionate teachers in areas like special ed. When you put jobs for tenured teachers above needs of students you lose my support.

  • Rebecca Gagnon

    I am hurt and dismayed by the work of Michelle Wiese and Shaun Laden, amongst others, to remove me from office. Ironically, the work I have done the past eight years as your At-Large School Board Member reflects the values & priorities stated above. In fact, the misinformation campaign against me is NOT supported by my track record of work on the Board. Together we have made progress. WITH the community and fellow Board members, I worked to save North High, re-open schools, expand overcrowded schools, invest in air conditioning and kitchens, support the implementation of a Farm to Table school meal program, increase recess and remove toxic tire mulch from playgrounds, strengthen our partnership with the Mpls Park Board, including re-opening Phillips pool, and expand rigorous academic programs across our schools to create equitable access to K-12 academic pathways. Together, we prioritized smaller class sizes, co-teaching and mental health and trauma informed care professionals at high poverty schools that had greater academic challenges. Together we have increased funding for english learner programs and strengthened our programs for Native American students with culturally relevant teachings, language, curriculum and practices.

    I am a strong, outspoken leader (and a woman) who questions, challenges, and is not afraid to disrupt. We have gaps, students who are struggling. Sometimes we need to think outside the box to change a system that has not worked for all students. If we don’t challenge ourselves to think differently, we will not embark upon the change needed to achieve academic success for all students in Minneapolis Public Schools.

    Questioning our budget because students needed more funding in the classroom made people uncomfortable. Questioning how we can save money by reducing our calendar so we could SAVE teachers and staff and protect our students’ educational opportunities made people uncomfortable. Questioning how we could use fundraising dollars to support the most vulnerable students at more privileged schools made people uncomfortable. I’m OK with uncomfortable because it challenges us to do better.

    So I will continue to push. I will continue to work in partnership with School Board members who also desire to serve ALL students. I will continue to build partnerships that can help support the unique needs of our students experiencing homelessness, poverty, trauma, health and food disparities, and the impact of historical trauma. I hope to continue my work as your At-Large School Board member and ask for YOUR VOTE on Nov. 6th. #ReElectRebecca

    Rebecca Gagnon,
    DFL progressive Incumbent At-Large Candidate, Star Tribune & Women Winning endorsed

More in Letters to the Editor