ST. PAUL, Minn. – At the Capitol, there have been multiple controversial policy provisions encased quietly into much larger budget bills required to operate the state government. This disturbing trend ties must-pass legislation with toxic policy provisions, unpalatable to the general public on their own merits. One disturbing provision closes The Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley after nearly thirty years of providing top-notch arts education and materials to students and teachers from across the state. Senator Ron Latz (DFL – St. Louis Park), who has the statewide magnet school in his district, has been frustrated with the quiet attempt to shutter the school without citizen input.
“After a difficult legislative auditor report of the Perpich Center administration, Republicans in the House are exploiting their authority to defund the Perpich Center, without including the thousands of students, teachers, and alumni in the discussion. The Perpich family also appears to be left out of the process that crumbles a pillar of the former Governor’s legacy. The recent audit report was always meant to instruct us on how to solve the administrative shortcomings to provide better transparency and accountability. I am concerned the Republican’s more extreme policy has been lost in the larger Education budget negotiations.”
“I am very surprised that Representative Jennifer Loon of nearby suburban Eden Prairie, with many graduates from the school in her district, is leading the charge on this. The Perpich Center is a beacon for arts students from across the state; rural, suburban and urban students learning together with a common bond of artistic achievement. Perpich Center has the unique synergy of combining a student-centered arts school with development and dissemination of arts education and materials. This cannot be replicated by a single administrative position buried in the Education Department as the House proposes.”
“This may be a cynical attempt to find leverage against the Governor for other extreme priorities; if so it makes it even more disappointing that political games are being played with student’s futures. Another partisan showdown with the Governor is not what citizens want. Alumni after alumni has told me directly about how essential Perpich was to finding their direction—countless have gone on to have very successful careers. We should not deny this opportunity to future students.”