For schools, the start of this year has obviously brought many challenges. For some school districts, pupil enrollments have dropped as parents refuse to enroll their students due to the environment in the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has led to legislation to hold harmless pupil units adjustment for school revenue formulas for fiscal year 2021 only. Sen. Paul Utke (GOP-Park Rapids) introduced SF 10 during the fourth special session on Sept 11.
This is among the supplemental budget items that Minnesota legislators are being asked to address as pressure continues to mount to pass a bonding and tax package that has been languishing since June.
Seeking a “hold harmless” on pupil enrollments or ADM counts from last year to this year is easier said than done. If those same students enroll in an online provider, their state pupil aid follows them there.
It might be possible to recapture ‘forecasted’ pupil unit revenue if the students are simply homeschooling. However, the state is looking at a massive budget deficit and there will be pressure by state officials to recapture any forecasted spending that isn’t slated to go out the door.
The one-day special session came and went without action on the bill. Sen. Utke said that he’s heard from area districts and shares their concerns.
It will take time to work on this issue and with the election on the horizon it may not be something the fifth special legislative session can address when they come in around Oct. 11.
In the meantime, school district officials need to communicate their situation to their legislators as efforts continue to address this issue.