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Education Commissioner Visits Local Elementary School

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MANKATO, Minn. -

Minnesota's top education official made a stop in Mankato. Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius spent Tuesday afternoon at Washington Elementary.

Decisions made at the capitol have big impacts in schools like Washington Elementary, so to make sure the state gets it right, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius left the capitol to come to the classroom.

Cassellius said, "We are making sure that we are investing in the things that teachers and principals and school leaders are telling us they need."

Principal Will Remmert said, "For her to hear from the teachers and the kids what the needs are is huge."

Having been designated as a Reward School two years in a row for high performance on the state's rating system, Washington Elementary can also show the state what works.

The tour of the school comes as lawmakers continue to sort through the budget a budget Principal Will Remmert hopes will include Governor Dayton's proposed support for all–day kindergarten. In Mankato the money currently comes from the general fund.

Remmert said, "That would be a huge price because then that money could be allocated differently throughout the district and whether that means smaller class sizes, more systems, more structures, that would be a huge opportunity for us."

There's also been discussion at the Capitol about paying back schools early for the money they borrowed to balance the budget, but Cassellius said education officials are politely declining.

Cassellius said, "We need give schools a new investment, what that just does is give them an old investment we need to put new dollars to put that accelerator on for achievement."

As Cassellius headed back to St. Paul, she said what she learned in the halls of Washington Elementary she will carry with her to the halls of the capitol.