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Connie Bernardy: Springbrook Nature Center in Bonding Bill

The state representative from Fridley also addresses legislation for early childhood education and all-day kindergarten in her new 'Capitol Update' video.

State Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL-Fridley) shares the latest on her bills at the Minnesota House of Representatives in a new Capitol Update video:

"I'm pleased to announce that my bill to get $5 million for Springbrook Nature Center's bonding project got into our bonding bill at the Minnesota House of Representatives. That's really good news."

In the video (watch it here or at YouTube.com), Bernardy also comments on the progress of legislation for early-childhood education and voluntary all-day kindergarten legislation.

Here are two recent press releases from Bernardy. From April 9, 2013:

Springbrook Nature Center Included in MN House Bonding Bill

The 2013 Omnibus Bonding bill (HF270), estimated to create 22,800 jobs, was unveiled in the House Capital Investment Committee today. The bill allocates $800 million in general obligation bonds for statewide infrastructure improvements and invests in higher education, transportation, housing, economic development, clean water and wastewater systems.

“These investments are a great opportunity to help improve local communities and provide jobs for middle class families,” said Rep. Connie Bernardy (DFL – Fridley). “This bill will go a long way towards helping Minnesota maintain a strong economy for years to come.”

Using the Associated General Contractors of America formula, it is estimated that 22,800 permanent, temporary and spin-off jobs will be created, giving a shot in the arm to the state’s recovering economy.

Rep. Bernardy’s district secured funds in the bill for $5 million in improvements set to be made to the Springbrook Nature Center.

“I’m excited to see this project included because the Springbrook Nature Center is such a valuable asset to our community and region,” said Rep. Bernardy. “The fact that the House felt compelled to fund the project shows how valuable Springbrook is to the region and Minnesota.”

The bill is being detailed today in committee and will be debated and voted on at the committee hearing on Thursday.

Some other highlights of the Capital Investment Bill include:

- Preserves and restores 108 year old iconic State Capitol building

- Protects natural resources – from International Falls’ Voyageurs National Park to Albert Lea’s Fountain Lake

- Provides greater public safety through upgrades in flood mitigation, local roads and bridges, dam repair, housing and the St. Peter Security hospital.

- Invests in asset preservation – MnSCU, the University of Minnesota and state agencies will get needed asset preservation funds for critical repairs.

- Completes projects long past ready to go including civic centers as well as the Minnesota Historical Society’s Oliver Kelly Farm.

- Makes an investment in the backlog for crumbling roads and bridges throughout the state.

From April 11, 2013:

House DFL Introduces Education Bill That Makes Historic Investment in Minnesota’s Future

Yesterday, the House DFL unveiled their plan to put Minnesota’s kids on the path to the world’s best workforce. The House Education Omnibus Finance bill calls for historic investment in education. The budget sets the ambitious goal of reaching a 100 percent high school graduation rate, 100 percent literacy by third grade, 100 percent career and college readiness by graduation, and closing the achievement gap — all by 2027.

Rep. Connie Bernardy’s (DFL – Fridley) Voluntary All Day Kindergarten bill is included in the omnibus bill.  The House DFL Education Budget invests in what works: fully funding all-day, every day kindergarten and investing $50 million in early learning childhood scholarships. All-day K and early childhood education are proven tools to improve test scores, close the achievement gap, and prepare students for future academic success.  

“This session we are making education one of our top priorities and All Day K plays a crucial role in education,” said Rep. Bernardy. “Research has shown that investments in early childhood education bring significant benefits down the line both for the students and the communities in which they live. We owe it to our students to give them the opportunity to realize those great benefits.”

The House DFL Education Budget also increases the basic funding formula for K-12 schools by four percent over the biennium, an increase of over $315 million, or $209 per pupil.

Over the next two years under the House DFL Education Budget, the Fridley Public School District would receive a formula increase of over $2 million. The Spring Lake Park School District would receive an increase of $3.3 million.  The Columbia Heights School District would receive an increase of $2.2 million. The Mounds View School District would receive an increase of $6 million. The Anoka Hennepin School District would receive an increase of $20.5 million.

“These investments show that we value our students and teachers in our communities,” said Rep. Bernardy (DFL – Fridley). “We are making schools a priority because every child deserves the opportunity to succeed and contribute to a strong economy.”

As part of building the world’s best workforce, the House DFL Education Budget would implement several necessary reforms. A new student assessment system will be implemented that ensures students stay on the path to being career and college ready, and innovation grants that promote new ways to increase student achievement will be available to schools.

Schools will be required to develop strategic plans for student achievement and update the public on their status each year. The state will utilize the Minnesota Department of Education’s Regional Centers of Excellence to provide assistance and work with schools to reach their goals.

The DFL plan also pays off the $2.2 billion that were borrowed from schools to balance the budget last session.  This is included in the tax bill for this year. 

The bill was presented in the House Education Finance Committee today, with public testimony on Thursday and a committee vote on Friday. The House Education bill can viewed here: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/H0630Delete-all.pdf

The House Education funding spreadsheet can be viewed here: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/HF0630Delete-allspreadsheet.pdf

The school district runs for the House Education bill can be viewed here:

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/HouseProposalApril92013_1.pdf

Throughout the legislative session, Rep. Bernardy encourages all constituents to contact her directly with any ideas, concerns, or ways she can help residents on state issues. Rep. Bernardy can be reached by phone at (651) 296-5510 or by email at rep.connie.berdardy@house.mn.

Rod Trocke April 18, 2013 at 12:58 AM
Fridley taxes close to $400 GRAND and that goes up every year are used now. With the update from the State of I guess $4 Million to build a club house, how much more Fridley Tax money will be needed to maintain and operate this new addition? Lots of dollars involved here on something that was going to cost the Fridley tax payor's ZERO when this swamp was proposed. How do these funds match up to what other cities use for their Nature Centers?

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