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.
President, Minneapolis Federation of Teachers