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Gov. Dayton vetoes education bill

Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the K-12 education funding bill last week because it did not provide funding for one of his pet issues — mandatory preschool for 4-year-olds.
 We understand the governor has the right to veto bills he feel are unacceptable, but one would hope it would be for better reasons.
Don’t get us wrong — preschool for 4-year-olds ought to be offered. In fact, in many public districts it is, not to mention there are many private and church-operated preschools. But all of those institutions recognize that parents of children at that age level should have the right to determine if preschool is appropriate for their child, or if they should start their child’s education later or earlier. Again, Gov. Dayton and his supporters are taking a “one-size-fits-all” stance on an important issue that should be decided at the local level.
The sad thing is that Dayton’s veto eliminates all provisions of the bill, including a proposed increase in the K-12 funding formula. Although the proposed increases were modest, they would have helped school districts as they continue to recover from years of zero increases, not to mention the years the state “borrowed” money from school districts by shifting portions of state aid payments from one school year to the next.
This year’s education bill showed, for once, true bipartisanship as leaders from both parties struck an agreement on the bill, a rare happening in today’s political environment. The governor should have respected that.
The governor and other supporters of mandated preschool for 4-year-olds need to take time and think this through more thoroughly. Although the governor wants to provide funding for the program, there is no funding for school districts who may need to expand facilities to accommodate the program, nor is there any guarantee that future funding will keep up with inflation.
The state needs to make sure its existing educational programs are funded on a long-term basis before forcing new, mandated programs on local school districts.