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This is a critical budgeting year for Minnesota schools. The Legislature’s actions during the 2019 session will determine state funding for education for the next two years.

District 196 is making $7 million in budget adjustments for next school year due to years of inadequate funding from the state. The cuts will mean larger class sizes, less support for students and increased costs for families. Without a significant increase in funding the next two years, District 196 will face the need for additional cuts to staffing and programs that would further reduce support for students.

You can help!

  • Be heard– Contact the Governor’s Office, your state senator and representative to urge them to increase funding for education. When their constituents talk, legislators listen.
  • Spread the word– Ask family, friends and others to contact their state leaders to share their thoughts on the importance of education funding.
  • Stay informed– Sign up for the Legislative Link email list to receive timely information and action alerts from the district’s Legislative Advisory Council (LAC). The LAC is a nonpartisan group of district citizens, staff and School Board members. Each year the LAC develops the district’s legislative priorities and advocates for quality public education in finance and policy issues at the state Legislature.

Basic Education Funding Has Not Kept Pace With Inflation

The general education formula allowance is the single biggest source of revenue Minnesota school districts receive. Since 2003, the difference between the actual and inflation-adjusted general education formula allowance has grown to $618 per pupil. In the graph below, the green-dashed line represents the actual general education formula funding and the red line represents the amount of funding if the formula had kept pace with inflation. If the formula had kept pace with inflation, District 196 would be receiving an additional $19 million in state aid this year.

State general education funding gap chart.

General Education Formula Allowance, 2003-2019

Unfunded Special Education Costs are Large and Growing

The state and federal governments mandate special education services but fund just 59 percent of what it actually cost District 196 to deliver those services last year. The other 41 percent in unfunded special education costs, known as the “cross-subsidy,” were paid for out of the district’s general fund. In fiscal year 2018, the special education cross-subsidy was $700 million statewide and $29 million in District 196 alone. The graph below shows growth in unfunded special education costs in Minnesota since 2003. The blue line represents the total unfunded costs and the red-dashed line represents the state’s portion of the cross-subsidy, if the federal government covered 40 percent of the total cost of special education services.

State special education funding gap chart.

Unfunded Special Education Costs (“Cross-Subsidy”)