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Yesterday I was interviewed by a local news organization for a story about the educational spending bill currently working its way through the Minnesota Legislature.

The headline of the story that came out was ISD 709 to Lose $1M Under Proposed Legislation.

The reporter wanted my take on a particular item in the bill that would provide for vouchers to be used for students to attend non-public schools.

As Governor Dayton has vowed to veto the bill as it is currently written, it is far to early to speculate on what might happen over the next few months. However, one thing is certain: We all benefit from strong public schools. Underfunded schools are devastating to our kids and harmful to the future of our city, state and country.

Here at Marshall, we take pride in offering a unique and distinctive educational alternative for families. We believe that a variety of educational choices in Duluth signals a healthy and vibrant community — and the fact that there is choice (call it competition, if you will) keeps us on our toes.

Incidentally, independent schools like Marshall already offer our own version of “vouchers” — in the form of financial aid. Many alumni and friends of Marshall have given generously over the years to create scholarships that can make Marshall accessible to many who otherwise could not afford the tuition. We believe that socio-economic diversity is one component of a vibrant educational community.

Let’s hope that the talk going on in St. Paul ends with a recommitment to the strong educational system that has been a hallmark for Minnesota for so many generations.