Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton kicked off his four-district tour today at Parkview Elementary in Lakeville, where he advocated for his proposal for one-time emergency aid for Minnesota schools.
Gov. Dayton started by visiting with third-grade students in Kimberly Miller’s class. He asked about the books they were reading and received several letters from students, even signing a few. Following his classroom visit, the governor held a press conference to talk about the emergency school aid proposal.
“We’re talking about quality of education that these children depend upon,” Dayton said. “And there’s no going back. There’s no going back to third grade. If the resources aren’t there, they miss out. So, this is very important.”
The proposal would provide $138 million in one-time emergency aid and was proposed in response to a recent survey that shows 21 metro school districts face a cumulative budget deficit of more than $100 million in the 2018-19 school year. More than 30 school districts in Greater Minnesota also face budget deficits in the coming year. Without funding, some of these school districts will face layoffs and significant cuts to programming.
While there are no staffing or program reductions planned for District 196 next year, the district is facing a $12 million budget deficit that will result in a planned spend down of fund balance dollars. If additional funding from the state is not received, District 196 could face cumulative budget adjustments totaling up to $20 million in school years 2019-20 and 2020-21.
During the press conference, local lawmakers, a Parkview parent and District 196 Superintendent Jane Berenz spoke on behalf of the proposal.
“Any emergency funding could provide many things; school safety could be in there or it could go for special education,” Berenz said.
The governor’s proposal would provide funding equivalent to $126 per pupil for fiscal year 2019. For District 196, that would mean an additional $4.1 million in one-time funds.
View photos below from Gov. Mark Dayton’s visit to Parkview Elementary School.