The Minnesota Legislature adjourned in late May, after approving a number of bills including one for education funding. The results for schools were mixed.
While we are grateful for the roughly $2.7M increase just provided by the legislature for the next two years, it still leaves us with a $8.5M operating budget gap over the same period. A two-year increase simply isn’t enough to make up for years of state funding that has not kept pace with inflation, increasing costs and growing student needs.
We are also pleased that the state approved funding to hold the special education cross-subsidy constant – but the district is still not being fully reimbursed for our required special education services. This puts additional pressure on the operating budget, making it difficult to continue the strong academic preparation of our students, prevent cuts to programs and services, maintain class sizes and manage growing enrollment.
The bottom line: the funding provided did help, just not as much as needed. School district leaders have done a good job of keeping expenses down while cutting the budget by $3.5 million over the past three years – but increasing cuts will be needed without additional revenue.