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17, 2018

Governor Mark Dayton
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
St. Paul, MN 55155

Dear Governor Dayton,

With fewer than four days left before we must adjourn the Legislative session, it is imperative the three
of us meet today to begin negotiations in earnest on the various issues we have all expressed a
commitment to addressing this year.

As you outlined in your April 9 letter, those issues include protecting elderly and vulnerable adults from
abuse and neglect, ensuring the safety of our schoolchildren, addressing the opioid crisis, and stabilizing
the pensions of Minnesota workers. We also share an interest in passing a tax conformity bill that would
protect Minnesotans from the hassle of difficult tax filings in 2019 and lower the tax burden on hard-
working middle-class families.

We have received your request for $138 million in new spending for schools, and share your support of
a strong education system for all of Minnesota’s children. Last year, the Republican-led legislature
passed, and you signed into law, $1.3 billion in new school funding. This year, the legislature passed
millions more for school safety improvements and mental health. We also support teacher pension
reforms paired with new funding that will ensure teachers’ retirement promises are kept, and protect
the state from larger liabilities in the future.

St. Paul Public Schools, which you are visiting today, received $8.7 million in new revenue for the current
school year, and will receive $17.9 million in new revenue for the upcoming 2018-19 school year. The
district currently spends $14,073 per year to educate each student, and in the 2018-19 school year, that
figure will increase to $14,679, according to the Minnesota Department of Education. The Star Tribune,
in an article dated February 15, 2018, reported this additional funding has allowed the school district to
hire fifty-three new teachers and support staff, and fund yearly raises for every teacher. According to
the article, St. Paul Public Schools were able to afford these increases without tapping in to its rainy day
funds. Yet, the school district now claims to have a $17.2 million deficit.

While each district faces different challenges, 90% of school districts in Minnesota have balanced
budgets. We trust Minnesota’s locally-elected school boards and school administrators to make the
right decisions for their students, maintain healthy budgets, and give all students the ability to reach
their potential today and years into the future. The budget you signed last year included a significant
investment in our schools, is sufficient for the upcoming school year, and will be revisited during the
next two-year budget cycle.

Despite our differences, we know there is a path to work together this year to make progress on issues
that are important to Minnesotans. We invite you to meet with us today at 2:00 PM in a location
convenient to you.


Sen. Paul Gazelka Rep. Kurt Daudt
Senate Majority Leader Speaker of the House