Dayton Wants Emergency Funding for Minnesota Schools

Dayton Wants Emergency Funding for Minnesota Schools Photo: KSTP/Tom Hauser

May 01, 2018 05:05 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton is calling for $138 million in emergency funding for Minnesota schools as districts across the state grapple with budget shortfalls.

Dayton unveiled his request to lawmakers Tuesday as the Legislature heads toward a mandatory May 22 adjournment. The Democratic governor's proposal would increase the state's per-pupil funding formula by 2 percent.

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More than 26 school districts around the Twin Cities and 33 districts in rural Minnesota are struggling with budget deficits. Those shortfalls are a small fraction of the districts' total operating budgets.

But many school districts across Minnesota are considering staff and teacher layoffs to solve the deficits. Dayton is urging the Legislature to approve funding.

The governor's request could catch legislative leaders off guard. The Republican-controlled Legislature has already started assembling their budgets.

Republican State Senator Carla Nelson, who chairs the Senate's E-12 Finance Committee, said in a statement that the budget issues many districts are facing did not arise from action at the state level.

"The Legislature has increased school funding every year – including significant new dollars above and beyond built-in increases for the 2018-2019 school years," the statement read. "These budget shortfalls are not of the state's making.

"The truth is, some school districts have not been realistic about how much they can afford to pay their employees, and have entered into union contracts that are squeezing classroom budgets. Also, special education has been a huge cost driver that the federal government has failed to live up to their promise to fully fund. Republicans have proposed a task force to try to bring those costs down."

Credits

The Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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