Listen in Wed. October 26, at 6pm when I talk education funding with Rep. Mindy Greiling on KYMN radio 1080 AM or you can join us online at KYMNradio.net. As soon as the program is archived I will post the link.
Former Education Finance Chair, Rep. Greiling says the result of the last session is:
MINNESOTA OWES OUR SCHOOLS
School Aid Payment Shift. . . . . . . . . . . . . .$2.2 Billion
Property Tax Recognition Shift. . . . . . . . .660 Million
Special Education Cross-Subsidy. . . . . . .$700 Million
Total Funds Owed Minnesota Schools. . .$3.56 Billion (serving 837,640 kids)
Total Owed Per Student. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$4,200
Minnesota grew a great education system because we made sound investments and made smart choices. You only have to look at other states to see what a different (and cheaper) route would have meant to our state. The best way to grow jobs and our economy is good schools. Good schools and good teachers require adequate funding. We are losing our way and starting to walk down the path of starving our schools.
Besides the massive borrowing from our schools, we are not funding mandates. The state has a responsibility to fund mandates like special education by paying our schools directly, rather than relying on local property taxes.
No other state has used accounting tricks to the same degree as Minnesota. While Minnesota has used school payment delays in the past, this year’s 40 percent delay in payments is unprecedented. To compare, the only other state in the nation to use this awful tactic is California. It delays 19 percent of school payments, about half the amount from their schools as Minnesota will now do. With no plan in place for delays to be paid back, it will take decades to make our schools whole again, if ever.
E-12 Education: Policy language regarding teacher and principal evaluations was included in the budget bill, a concept that was universally supported. I am disappointed, however, that Republicans insisted on 35 percent of the evaluation being based on test scores prior to experts making evidence-based recommendations for next year, as the bill prescribes. Educators will also be graded on factors including student performance, peer review and evaluations. The bill also abandons expansion of the early childhood quality rating system which has worked well in parts of the state and is essential for Minnesota to be viable for the next round of Race To The Top federal grant funding.