One of the key elements in achieving Minnesota’s goal of developing the World’s Best Workforce is developing school facilities that equip 21st Century learners. Today, most of our school facilities fall short of what today’s learners need. Many of them are old and needing repair and upgrades so they assist teachers in providing learning environments where students can thrive.
Ag2School would offset an inequitable amount of school facility funding provided by farmers by creating a 40 percent credit on the taxes paid on farmland for school bonds. View map of impact.
Impact of Ag2School
- Create Fairer State Share in 284 school districts.
- Provide a credit for all existing and future local school district debt levies.
- Deliver $40 million tax relief in 2018. That includes greater than $225,000 aggregate relief each in 68 school districts and over $100,000 aggregated relief in another 79 school districts.
- Account for rising ag land values that still had a historic high median sale price of $4,611 in 2015. The average price per acre for ag land in Minnesota increased 719 percent since 1990, from $705 per acre to $5,071 in 2013.
- Assist school districts with older facilities. In school districts with over 75 percent ag land value, the school facilities are 51 years old on average. That’s 11 years older than the state average and close to the 60-year life expectancy for school buildings.
- Enable rural communities to hold civic conversations about educational effectiveness and energy efficiency of their aging school facilities.
Why It’s Needed
About half of the state’s schools were built before 1976, prior to the digital revolution and 25 percent are between 54 and 125 years old.
- Local taxpayers contribute 97-100 percent to build and remodel educational facilities.
- The state contributes at most 3 percent, which supports only 44 school districts and leaves our remaining 288 districts 100 percent dependent on local tax support for their facilities.
- Bond elections are increasingly difficult to pass in rural Minnesota. In 2015-16, school districts asked voters 97 bond ballot questions. 41 percent rural questions passed, and 81 percent metro questions passed.
- Agriculture land values still greatly impact who pays for facilities in rural Minnesota: 20 percent of districts have at least 75 percent of their net tax property wealth in agriculture land and one-third have 50 percent in ag land.
Upon the request of legislators from both parties, MREA analyzed school funding for districts in rural areas compared to those in urban areas in Minnesota to assess how the funding is meeting the needs of all students. MREA outlines the key findings and strategies to ensure all students receive a quality education across Minnesota. View the Rural Kids Report.
Complete the form below for the run showing the impact of Ag2School by school district.