Education Revenue to Support Strong Public Schools
State aid for public education funding has not kept up with inflation, and school systems routinely struggle to attract and retain staff to meet student educational needs. The current funding model has led school districts to heavily rely on requesting taxpayer support through operating referendums, creating major disparities in educational funding and opportunities across the state. To help schools compete in an ever-tightening labor market and meet student needs, the state needs to significantly increase and stabilize funding for Minnesota’s local public education systems.
Key Actions Needed
- Provide rural school districts with financing tools that are available to members of the metro Intermediate Districts and with increased flexibility for existing revenue streams in SF 389 and HF 498.
- Redefine the “general education formula” to include a mix of state aid and a highly equalized board approved operating levy, consistent with the recommendations of the School Finance Reform working group recommendations submitted to the MDE on November 5, 2020.
- Include automatic inflationary increases as part of the state’s budget process.
- Stabilize Basic Skills Revenue (Compensatory Aid) by streamlining direct certification between state agencies and creating census-based factors for generating this revenue.
- Reduce and freeze special education cross subsidies for each school district.
- Expand Voluntary PreK funding to all school districts.
- Create minimum revenue guarantees to ensure small schools can generate meaningful revenue for the stated purposes of each category of revenue.
- Ensure rural cooperative educational systems are included in revenue streams targeted at the students they serve.
- Fund targeted teacher development, mentoring and credentialling programs to help advance professional teaching careers.
- Increase “Safe Schools” funding to increase student mental health service capacity.