My first budget-oriented topic up for discussion is education - the future of our nation.
Unfortunately, the status quo is failing us. Partisan politics from the left and the right have pitted choice against parochial and private against public school systems - all in the name of the almighty dollar. This is not productive and will not allow our children to flourish. I feel that if the discussion is truly about the children, then we need to be honest about our preconceived notions regarding educational settings, whether they be Christ-centered or publically furnished.
Under the current administration, thanks to a variety of tax cuts, we have seen the largest revenue stream in state history. However, Medicaid programs continue to expand - gobbling up nearly one third of the pie. As such, all additional funding for state programs has been squeezed to the max, including K-12 and choice options.
The Governor's current proposals are unsustainable for our district. Due to past court rulings prescribing gummed up Equalization Aid, our schools continue to receive negative funding while MPS sits on vacant buildings, raking in $5000 more per student than our supposed well-off districts.
I am a proponent of the Governor's scrapping of Smarter Balanced tests and the requirement that DPI stop promoting Common Core State Standards. My alternative suggestion? With the glut of tests that we already require, why not use the recently mandated ACT and the available ACT Aspire testing to fulfill our federal obligations?
In conclusion, as responsible taxpayers, we must keep open minds and do what is in the best interest of our children and their futures - regardless of the school setting in which they may be receiving this education. As a legislator, I am going to do whatever is necessary to ensure that our school systems remain solvent and fiscally responsible for as long as I represent this district.
Representative Jesse Kremer