DULUTH (AP) -- Gov. Jesse Ventura told a convention Friday that competition may be needed to remove what he called a "bad smell" from state public school financing.
"I'm shocked to hear myself say this today, but I think perhaps competition is what's needed," he said. "We need to make our public schools more competitive."
His spokesman, John Wodele, said he doubted Ventura had changed positions to favor vouchers, which would allow parents to spend public money at any school, including a private one.
"He has not used the word 'voucher' in any of our policy discussions," Wodele said. "Instead, he's been talking about charter schools. That's the competitive model he talks about more and more internally."
Nevertheless, charter schools take a big hit in Ventura's proposal to repair the state budget. He recommends cutting in half the amount of aid charter schools can get to help pay building rent.
A Senate education committee approved the lease-aid reduction Friday as part of a budget plan that cuts $15 million in K-12 school funding, much less than the governor recommended.
In spelling out the problems with public schools, Ventura made direct comparisons of public and private schools, asserting it costs less to educate a child at a private school.
Speaking to a convention of emergency medical service workers in Duluth, the governor repeated his belief that something smells rotten in K-12 finances, which consume about 40 percent of every tax dollar.
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