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Viewpoint: Session a pleasant surprise for schools

The recently concluded legislative session turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for education and for South Washington County Schools. When the session began there was a general assumption that if we could just hold on to what we have, we would be doing well. In the end, and even during very difficult times, education proved to be a top priority for the legislators.

School districts are set to receive an additional $51 per student in 2008-09. For the South Washington County Schools, this amounts to an additional $990,000. We were originally allocated a 1 percent increase in foundation aid monies for the 2008-09 school year. This additional legislative help brings our total increase to 2 percent for the coming year. While this still will not keep up with inflation, this additional money is sincerely appreciated.

It would have been easy for the Legislature, faced with considerable money problems to hold the line or reduce school district funding, but this was not the case. I give great credit to our local legislators and the governor for reaching an agreement that prioritizes education.

The all-day kindergarten and breakfast programs will benefit through the reimbursement of milk costs equaling about $10,000 for our budgets that support the participants of these programs.

Legislators this session also approved a requirement of school districts to request a law enforcement background check on all individuals offered employment and all adults who are providing coaching services regardless of whether the person is compensated or not. District 833 currently provides these checks.

All in all, it was a very successful session and once again I need to say thank you to our legislators and our governor. Job well done!

Tom Nelson is superintendent of School District 833.