Anoka-Hennepin school board member Matt Audette issued a statement last week in which he outlined his priorities for the district’s 2024-25 budget. (Anoka-Hennepin School District)

A school board member with Anoka-Hennepin schools has pledged to vote against the district’s 2024-25 budget if it includes left-wing priorities such as programs related to “systemic racism,” “critical race theory,” “gender identity issues,” and “intersectionality.”

Anoka-Hennepin school board member Matt Audette issued a post on social media last week in which he outlined his priorities for the district’s 2024-25 budget. According to Audette, the district will be discussing the budget in the coming weeks before the budget approval deadline on June 30.

Currently, Anoka-Hennepin faces a $24 million budget shortfall. It is just one of many districts that are facing significant budget concerns.

As such, districts across the state will be forced to make difficult financial decisions as they approve their budgets. In last week’s post, Audette said Anoka-Hennepin will operate in a deficit for the duration of the 2024-25 school year.

Working in conjunction with school board members Zach Arco and Linda Hoekman, Audette stated that the group has identified “policies, procedures, processes, or practices that must come to an end in our Anoka-Hennepin schools. It is time to put a stop to the spreading of divisive, one-sided views, training, and learning that go against the values and beliefs of many families, students, and staff in our community.”

Subsequently, Audette said the three school board members have pledged to vote against any budget that promotes any of the following concepts in student instruction or staff development:

“Systemic racism,” “Anti-racism,” “Whiteness/De-centering whiteness,” “Intersectionality,” “Critical race theory,” “Gender identity issues,” “Equity,” “Culturally responsive teaching,” “View that the United States is fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist,” “1619 Project,” “Anti-capitalist/ism,” “Land acknowledgment statements or principles,” and “Social justice.”

Audette said the group plans to oppose implementation of the new statewide 2021 social studies standards. Regarding the standards, Audette said, “We cannot adopt a curriculum that is obviously slanted and biased toward a single world view that is decidedly negative in what it teaches about our country.”

They also want the district to revise its “Equity Achievement Plan” to “focus on achievement” and end the practice of “grouping students or staff by race.”

The complete list of priorities can be viewed here.

According to Audette, the trio of Arco, Audette, and Hoekman informed their school board colleagues that they “cannot in good conscience vote in favor of a 2024-25 budget that funds these activities.”

There are six seats on the Anoka-Hennepin school board. The other three members of the board are Kacy Deschene, Michelle Langenfeld, and Jeff Simon.

“It is our sincere hope that the board and administration can come together to make the necessary updates to our system to stop doing these things so we can avoid a budget standoff, which would potentially come to a head on July 1, 2024 if we are unable to approve a budget,” said Audette.


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.

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