Education Minnesota calls for Legislature to improve conditions in intermediate districts

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. March 4, 2020 – It’s time for the Minnesota Legislature to improve the learning and working conditions in the schools for students with the greatest needs by expanding safe schools aid to intermediate school districts, said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota.

The union supports amending SF3629 to share any new funding for safety and security with intermediate districts, which are public schools that serve metro students with greater needs than other traditional districts can accommodate.

“Every parent wants their children to learn in safe, welcoming schools that offer the supports their children need. The parents of students in intermediate districts are no different,” Specht said. “These schools obviously need extra funding to fulfill their responsibilities. It’s beyond disappointing that the bill’s authors would specifically exclude intermediate districts in their bill. We urge them to reconsider.”

Specht said the bill should be amended to either make the intermediate districts eligible for any new safe schools aid or to redirect $3 million in the bill to intermediate districts from nonpublic schools, including homeschools and elite private schools.

James Schmidke, a teacher in Intermediate District 287 and member of Education Minnesota, said funding that would provide training and more staff, such as counselors, nurses and social workers, would reduce the number of injuries to students and ISD 287 educators, which can force them to miss work.

“Staff aren’t able to make real and meaningful connections with students if they aren’t in school or are stretched thin by covering for a position we can’t fill,” Schmidke said. “Safer and healthier schools would mean that we are going to have fewer in injuries to staff, which means we are going to be able to educate all of our kids to be the most productive members of society they can be.”

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.