Tom Bakk: Stumpf put ‘schools first’ into lawSchool districts across Minnesota soon will get most of what they have been owed since 2011 when, after shutting down government for three weeks, Republicans in the Legislature voted to “resolve” the state’s deficit by holding back $2.8 billion in school payments.
By: Tom Bakk, Grand Forks Herald
COOK, Minn. — School districts across Minnesota soon will get most of what they have been owed since 2011 when, after shutting down government for three weeks, Republicans in the Legislature voted to “resolve” the state’s deficit by holding back $2.8 billion in school payments.
When the DFL Party took control of the Legislature in 2013, we made paying back our schools a priority, and we passed an honest budget that included new revenue (which Republicans opposed) to accelerate the repayment of schools.
That new revenue coupled with a growing economy finally has put an end to the cycle of deficits and left enough money on the ledger to pay down almost the entire $2.8 billion school shift.
It’s good news for students and parents, as many school districts were forced to eliminate valuable programs or take out loans while waiting for the state to make good on its IOU.
Paying back borrowed money is nothing to brag about, but if there is one legislator who deserves recognition for paying back the school shift in just two years, it’s the state senator who represents northwestern Minnesota: Sen. Leroy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer.
Thanks to Stumpf, schools are guaranteed to get paid back first, no matter what.
Back in 2004, Stumpf had the foresight to pass a law that permanently placed schools at the top of the pecking order when the state is paying off its debts. After the state meets its cash flow obligations and replenishes the budget reserves, Minnesota law requires that whatever money is left over be automatically put toward any outstanding debt to schools before legislators have an opportunity to spend it somewhere else.
No long-drawn-out debates, no political standoffs, no question about it.
Over his more than 30 years of service to Minnesota, Stumpf has earned a reputation as a leader on education, working to ensure that every student across our state has the chance to succeed in school and beyond.
Making sure our schools get back every penny they are owed is just one more example of the results he consistently delivers.
Any politician can talk about making schools the top priority. Stumpf is the one who put it in law.
State Sen. Bakk, DFL-Cook, is majority leader of the Minnesota Senate.