Funding For Education: State Budget Proposal Moves On

By KBJR News 1

February 8, 2013 Updated Feb 8, 2013 at 1:03 AM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Funding for Minnesota education is a hot topic at the State Capital, along with finding ways to pay back the one billion dollars the state owes the public school system.

I had the chance to learn that many state leaders agree that the state should spend more on education saying it's a wise investment for future economic development.

As lawmakers look to find ways to fund education many schools in Minnesota are struggling to make ends meet.

Already some schools have eliminated band, choir, art and gifted enrichment programs.

Others have gotten rid of technical education classes.

State leaders say in the last decade Minnesota has lost more than 12 percent of its educational funding due solely to inflation.

Inflation, combined with low–property wealth districts, have left many schools struggling.

"I think there has been a lot of talk about how to boost student achievement, but not a lot of weight being put behind the resources needed to do that in the last 10 years," Joe Radinovich, (DFL) Crosby, said.

Included in the governor's proposal is raising revenue, which some state leaders say makes Minnesota more competitive for educating students and economic development.

"For Northern Minnesota school districts, Governor Dayton does a great job of funding—increasing funding for the per–pupil unit formula, which is our basic school funding formula," Rep. Tom Anzelc, (DFL) Balsam Township, said.

Governor Dayton's budget proposal includes an increase in education funding across the board as well more alternative educational programs.

The governor would like to invest nearly $600M in school funding.

More than $300M would go to early education.

Per pupil funding would increase by $52 kindergarten through twelfth grade.

That's a total increase of $118M for public k–12 education.

"And so that would give some basic money the local school boards to how best use that money," Rep. Mary Murphy, (DFL) Hermantown, said.

Another $600M would be directed to special and higher education.

Former school teacher, House member Tom Anzelc, is working to reduce class sizes and build a more rigorous course curriculum.

Representative Anzelc says the state plans to pay back the billion dollars it owes public schools...and the payback strategy will be laid out after the revenue forecast is released at the end of the month.

Justin Reis, NNC.