The School Board reviewed budget assumptions for the 2019-2020 school year. The district’s budgeting process begins with making assumptions about enrollment, revenue and expenses for the upcoming school year. This is the first step that ends with budget approval by June 30. Eastern Carver County Schools relies on funding from the state (state aid) for about 72 percent of its revenue. Local property taxes make up another 22 percent of the district revenue. The remaining 6 percent comes from the federal government, fees and other sources.

State funding is the largest portion of the district’s revenues, and it is determined by the state Legislature two years at a time. No district in Minnesota will know its exact revenue amount until the Legislature approves the education funding bill, which in recent years has occurred in May or June.

Eastern Carver County Schools is budgeting an increase in state aid of 1 percent. This is less than the rate of inflation. With exception of a couple of years, Minnesota has historically funded K-12 education at a level less than inflation. This is one reason many school districts, like Eastern Carver County Schools, rely on local levy referendums to increase funding for schools.

Another notable assumption in the district’s budget planning, is an increase in special education revenue of 2.5 percent. When the federal government in 1975 required U.S. schools to appropriately teach students who have disabilities, it pledged to fund 40 percent of that cost. It has never met that obligation. This means that all school districts partially fund special education from their general education revenues. If the state or federal governments met the pledge to adequately fund special education, Eastern Carver County Schools would have an additional $6.7 million per year.