Duluth Education Leaders Guarded about Budget Proposal

By KBJR News 1

January 23, 2013 Updated Jan 23, 2013 at 7:40 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- Duluth education leaders are staying guarded about Governor Mark Dayton's proposed budget.

Governor Dayton's plan promises funding increases all over the board for public education, from early childhood to college age but Duluth school officials are saving their excitement for when the governor's pen hits the paper.

From preschool to high school officials representing Duluth schools are staying cautiously optimistic concerning Governor Mark Dayton's proposed 300-million dollars in Kindergarten through 12th grade education investments.

"It will be interesting to see if this budget goes through," said Nancy Thomas, Director of Happy Time Daycare in Lincoln Park.

"Past experience has showed us that we need to be cautiously optimistic," said ISD 709 Superintendent Bill Gronseth.

The investments would be big news for the Duluth District.

Funding would increase per student by about 800 dollars.

Superintendent Bill Gronseth says feedback from the newly unveiled "Think Kids" program, meetings between schools officials and parents, would be part of any decision on how to spend the extra revenue.

"Certainty looking at the values and priorities that are coming forth in the "Think Kids" meetings would be a part of any decision made regarding any budget gains that would be realized," said Gronseth.

Early education leaders say the proposed 92-million dollar investments, to help make quality preschool programs affordable, are crucial for both children, and parents.

"Our children need to have high quality experiences in order to feel confident in order to get the skills they need and be ready to go on to school," said Thomas. "Another reason why parents are important is so parents can go to work guilt free."

Ultimately, it's up to lawmakers in St. Paul to decide the future of this budget, and education funding.

If Governor Dayton's budget goes through, 46,000 more kids would have access to all day kindergarten as well.