Coalition letter to Governor Dayton in support of Opportunity Scholarships

[PDF version]

May 17, 2017

Dear Governor Dayton:

Thank you for your service to our state, and your commitment to ensuring that each Minnesota student has access to a quality education. Our organizations represent a wide variety of partners involved in educating students around Minnesota.

Although we represent many perspectives and viewpoints, we are are united in the belief that we must increase access to good educational options for our children. We believe that better education means more opportunities for advancement and a better life. We should empower parents to be able to send their children to a school that best serves their needs.

We can accomplish that this year by enacting the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit that is included in the joint House-Senate Tax Bill.

Now is the time to help our young people achieve greatness. These kids’ lives are a stake. The next generation is at stake. What is taking place in our K-12 schools right now is not working for too many students – especially students of color and students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is time to do something different.

Opportunity Scholarships would help remove financial barriers and allow students to attend the school of their family’s choice. Scholarship funds would come from private donations made to state-approved non-profit scholarship granting organizations. These scholarships would be available to low- and middle-income children to attend a school of choice – families must earn at or below twice the level of free or reduced lunch eligibility to qualify for a scholarship.

Because these funds would be private contributions, made to private non-profits, the proposal does not impact any funding for K-12 public schools. Rather it reflects a potential infusion of new funds into K-12 education to support families. Opportunity Scholarships are a prototype idea, funded by private investment, which can make a real difference for scholars in our state.

Let’s give more Minnesota students opportunities to access the school that is best for them. We would greatly appreciate your support for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit.

Ethan Roberts
Jewish Community Relations Council- Minnesota and the Dakotas

Tim Benz
Minnesota Independent School Forum

Jason Adkins
Minnesota Catholic Conference

Chas Anderson
Opportunity for All Kids (OAK)

Rev. Fredric Hinz
Lutheran Church Missouri Synod – Minnesota North & South Districts