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Letter: Don't transfer public dollars out of public education

To the editor:

I am grateful to have had an opportunity to meet with Rep. Barb Haley and Sen. Mike Goggin at a post-session wrap-up meeting Tuesday evening in Red Wing. While I understand that working in the political system requires negotiating and compromise, I am particularly concerned about our representatives supporting policies that do not reflect their communities and the values we hold.

After the meeting, a small group of us were speaking with Haley, expressing our concerns about reducing consumer and environmental protections, making policies that benefit the few to the detriment of many and her support of school vouchers.

Haley said she supports moving public school dollars into mechanisms that provide students alternative school options. Yet, she maintains that she supports the public school system.

It doesn't work that way. You can't say that you support public schools, and then be willing to cut their funding off at the knees. Minnesota, as well as many other states already have open enrollment, and a variety of charter and magnet schools within the public school system.

I am concerned that Haley and her legislative colleagues will continue to attempt to undermine the vast majority of students in our community by being willing to significantly transfer public education dollars to private and alternative education based systems. Our students, community, economy and future depend on a strong, well-funded and robust public education system — that serves everyone.

I encourage you to write, speak to and attend other public hearings with our representatives, to let them know that we stand with our pubic schools.

Jessie Nowak