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Editorial: Don't leave schools high and dry

Thanks to action by the Minnesota House and Senate, the state has a school finance bill on the table for Gov. Tim Pawlenty to sign.

There's a problem, though: the governor is poised to veto the legislation.

With the countdown to the end of this year's legislative session already on -- and with no final budget agreement reached yet -- a separate education finance bill offering a spending increase of about 1 percent to Minnesota schools was crafted and passed Tuesday night. DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich says he doesn't believe the education finance bill to be a key component of a bill that balances the budget, adding that public schools have been, for the most part, omitted from talk on proposed spending cuts.

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert took issue with education funding bill. He told Minnesota Public Radio that "by pulling K-12 aside and saying we're just going to go ahead and do this without an agreement on how to pay for it smacks of more politics than good policy." He predicted a Pawlenty veto would not have a successful override.

Let's make two things clear. First, the State of Minnesota has a budget that must be balanced, requiring difficult choices. Second, the state's school districts are facing a combined budget shortfall of $128.9 million (according to Education Minnesota). A 1 percent increase may not be much, but it's a far better alternative than nothing.

We hope legislators can make some type of small increase happen, one way or another. Our state's kids -- our future -- is at stake.