Sen. Steve Cwodzinski Update: March 17, 2017

Bill to Cut School Funding Based on MCA Participation Continues to Move Forward

Early Friday, the Senate Education Finance Committee heard a bill that will cut state funding to local school districts depending on how many of their students take the MCA. The bill was prompted by a massive number of student opt-outs, which is completely legal under state law. The intention of the bill is to get more students to take standardized tests so that we as a state can collect more data.

However, the bill has two major flaws. First, it can only serve to hinder student performance, giving no additional aid and only acting to punish local control. The second major problem is that this is not likely to actually serve its intended purpose. Most students are not aware of K-12 funding mechanisms, and will not be inspired to take standardized tests simply because their school would receive less funding.

I strongly opposed this bill in the Education Policy Committee last week, and I will oppose it again if it included as a provision in this year’s education budget.


Constituents at the Capitol

On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to have another opportunity to address students at Eden Prairie High School. This time it was sophomores who were here with their history class. Over 180 students and educators came to visit, and it was truly an amazing experience.

Additionally, Pastor Rod Anderson visited on Monday to give the opening prayer during floor session. Pastor Anderson has been a fixture in Eden Prairie since before I was a teacher, and I deeply appreciate everything he has done to improve our community.


Limiting Railroad Liability in Southwest LRT Right-of-Way

The Senate Transportation Committee heard a bill this week, SF 2019, that would place liability limits on railroads operating on the Met Council or a metro county’s right of way, including that of Southwest Light Rail.The bill specified that part of any contract made between the Met Council or a metro county and the railroads would have a $3 million liability cap.

During committee testimony, it became clear that if there were $20 million or $100 million in damages, the railroads would have to pay just $3 million total. In one incident in Quebec, there is currently a lawsuit for more than $400 million against Canadian Pacific, much of it for cleanup costs. In 2002, A trail carrying Amonia overturned in Minot, North Dakota, and resulted in $1.2 million being awarded in court for just two people. This makes it all the more clear that this bill is bad for Minnesota.

Freight rail is much more likely to overturn than light rail, and if the cares are carrying hazardous waste then the damage they can inflict is exponentially worse. I am very concerned about this bill, for if a freight rail overturned in Eden Prairie or Minnetonka along the line, our residents would not be adequately compensated for their losses.


Eden Prairie Hosts Annual Ice Show

At 7:00 pm next Friday, March 24, join friends at the Eden Prairie Community Center (16700 Valley View Road) for a chance to see local skaters perform their 35th-anniversary presentation of “Hairspray,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hamilton” and “Annie.”

Tickets

Adults: $8
Ages 3–17: $6
Ages 2 and younger: Free

Tickets are available in advance at the Community Center or at the door.

Presented by the Eden Prairie Figure Skating Club.