One Zine at a time
For Immediate Release
Dayton Introduces Legislation Requiring Federal Funding
for 40 Percent of Special Education Costs
Bill Would Mean Over $250 Million Annually for Minnesota Schools
WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Mark Dayton today introduced legislation to require
the federal government to fully fund its long-promised 40 percent share of
special education costs. The measure would provide over $250 million in
additional funds for Minnesota schools this year to educate special needs
Dayton, who has made full funding of the federal 40 percent share a
top priority, introduced his plan Thursday to raise the federal contribution
to schools in Minnesota and across the country from the current 16 percent
of program costs to 40 percent beginning in fiscal year 2004. Currently,
schools must absorb the shortfalls with other school funds.
"A quarter century ago, Congress promised that it would pay for 40
percent of the costs to educate each child with a disability," Dayton said.
"That promise has never been kept. Today, the federal share of special
education is only 16 percent nationally, less than half the promised amount. In
Minnesota, it is 15 percent. That is shameful. It hurts all schoolchildren,
because it forces school districts to make up the difference with funding for other
school services. Now, with state budgets in crisis, it is essential the
federal government pay its full share.
"Recently, members of my staff and I have met throughout Minnesota
with special education teachers, school superintendents, and parents of
children with special needs. Our schools need more resources to deliver the quality
education our children deserve. The federal government's failure to keep its
promise has prevented schools from meeting many other urgent educational needs. The
federal government must live up to its obligation so that Minnesota schools can
provide the best possible education to all their students."
Rep. Matt Entenza, House DFL Leader
267 State Office Building, St. Paul, MN 55155 651/296-8799
1647 Portland Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104 651/647-1425
For Immediate Release January 7, 2003
HOUSE DFLers TO DEFEND SECURITY OF MINNESOTA COMMUNITIES
Eighteen months after the events of September 11, the Pawlenty
Administration is proposing to pull cops, firefighters and other first
responders off the street because of cuts to local aid, a move House DFL
Leader Matt Entenza said will threaten the security of Minnesota
"We need to make sure that our communities aren't forced to pull cops off
the street or firemen and EMTs out of the local firehouse," Entenza said.
"In many communities, particularly in Greater Minnesota, state aid is
anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of city budgets. Common sense tells that if
we cut that aid too drastically, we're going to force communities to
reduce police and fire services at the very time we need them the most."
Entenza made his comments at a news conference outlining House DFL
priorities for the upcoming session. In addition to protecting local
police and fire departments from funding cuts, Entenza said the state needs to
eliminate the bureaucratic hoops local departments are forced to jump
through to qualify for terrorism training and equipment funds made
available by the 2002 Terrorism Act.
Before they can qualify for funding, cities, counties and medical
responders are being asked to fill out a seven-page report that lists the
names of all the groups in their area that pose a potential terrorist
threat, assesses whether those groups are planning to use weapons of mass
destruction-including nuclear devices-and then calculates the number of
casualties that such an attack could produce. The reporting requirement
was created while new Pawlenty Administration Chief-of-Staff Charlie Weaver
was in charge of the Department of Public Safety.
"Charlie Weaver is the architect of this parody, so we know where the
administration's priorities lie in this regard," Entenza said. "Instead of
creating more bureaucracy, the Pawlenty administration should be focusing
on ways to balance the budget and keep cops on the street. This is simple
"During the campaign, Governor Pawlenty talked a lot about accountability.
Well, that goes both ways. His administration needs to be accountable to
the local police, firefighters and EMTs that keep our communities safe."
In addition to the risk to security, Entenza said that the drastic cuts to
Local Government Aid (LGA) floated by the administration as one way to
balance the budget would also lead to higher property taxes.
"We understand that our new Governor has promised not to raise taxes and
we pledge to do everything we can to help him keep that promise," Entenza
said. "However, we also want to make sure that property taxes are also included.
The real challenge this session will be fixing the budget problem while safeguarding the things that have sustained Minnesota's high quality of life and strong economy-quality schools, good jobs, affordable health care, clean air and water and good roads and transit. Simply shifting the hard choices
onto local communities isn't going to cut it."
Back to the Front Page