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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Black voters in battleground states are a crucial voting bloc in 2024; Nikki Haley says she's voting for Trump in November; healthcare advocates suggest medical collaboration to treat fibroids; distinct vibes at IU Indianapolis pro-Palestinian protest.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Mpls. funding fight underscores larger school budget pain

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Wednesday, April 3, 2024   

From expiring pandemic aid to declining enrollment, school districts in Minnesota face financial pressure and public school advocates and community organizations said long-term improvements are the answer, not short-term cuts.

In a survey from the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, large school systems across Minnesota report a combined shortfall of $317 million. On Tuesday, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers led a gathering of local groups, calling on district leaders to rethink the cuts proposed for the next school year.

Lindsay Turner, community organizer for TakeAction Minnesota, said as a parent of a Minneapolis student, she is angry.

"Parents shouldn't have to be fighting for crumbs and showing up to school board meetings trying to protect this school's band program at the expense of that one," Turner contended.

Voices like hers said administrators should focus on making schools more attractive for enrollment. They also want state leaders to use existing surplus funds to help soften the blow. Minneapolis district officials said last year's boost in state funding has helped but they still face a large deficit, forcing them to propose tens of millions of dollars in spending reductions.

Broderick Austin, associate pastor of Shiloh Temple International Ministries, said a big focus on cuts comes at the worst possible time for educators and their students.

"The classroom sizes are too big, there's not enough resources, the teachers are overstretched," Austin outlined.

Minneapolis teachers, who went on strike in 2022, are trying to negotiate a new contract with the district, and both sides disagree over how much financial trouble the system is in. As for state aid, while there is still a surplus, forecasts show possible headwinds in the next budget cycle.


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