We hope the next five days of advocacy tips will give you direction on how to partner with MSBA and to be effective advocates as school board members. Our goal is to communicate the issues and make sure our voice is heard at the state Capitol.
If we all join in the effort we have the potential to be incredibly effective advocates. Why? It is not because of our bright ideas — although we are a really creative bunch. It is not because of the merit of our positions — although they are very noble. It IS because of our great passion for public schools — and that is what motivates us each day as we do the work.
We are effective because we have power. We have power because there are more than 2,000 school board members across the state. If we can build a strong grass-roots advocacy network and system, we have the potential to be incredibly effective advocates.
A 1 percent increase on the funding formula doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is when it comes to education. Minnesota needs to continue to invest in public education. Costs and expectations of what our schools should do have increased — funding simply hasn’t kept up. Newer programs such as the World’s Best Workforce, Teacher Development and Evaluation, and Safe and Supportive Schools add to the financial burden in our school districts.
An additional 1 percent on the basic general education per pupil formula will allow school districts to make local decisions to address their most pressing needs.
Write an email or make a phone call to encourage your elected state representatives and senators to fund the basic education formula. Choose one or two ways to advocate for 1 percent on the formula. Encourage others in your network and community to share, too.
Here are some ideas to include in your correspondence or call to your legislators:
Increase the basic general education per pupil formula by 1 percent to:
- Ease the burden of unfunded special education costs, causing districts a huge cross-subsidy.
- Restore things like class size and programs that we were forced to cut in 2009 due to the economy.
- Help implement World’s Best Workforce goals, such as school readiness, career and college readiness, safe schools, third-grade literacy, graduation and the closing of the racial and academic achievement gaps.