Red Lake school district upset by bonding bill vetoby Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Red Lake school officials say they're disappointed that Governor Tim Pawlenty vetoed funding for construction projects in their district.
Red Lake schools originally requested about $59 million dollars for a number of projects, including high school and middle school renovations. The final bill sent to the governor included $16 million.
Red Lake Superintendent Brent Gish says the district will be unable to replace outdated facilities that don't meet state health and safety standards. Gish says it also means over-crowded classrooms and fewer curriculum offerings.
"I guess what it means is it just puts people and programs on hold. And in the process, the at-risk kids, we lose kids. We lose kids that are just frustrated in saying that we are not addressing their needs as a priority, when in reality, we have done our best to try to generate the necessary resources to do so," said Gish.
Red Lake is a public school district, but it is dependent on help from the state because the district cannot collect taxes from Red Lake tribal members. District officials say failure of their bonding request will force them to set up more temporary classrooms.