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Governor Dayton Calls for Emergency School Aid as Minnesota Schools Face Budget Shortfalls

5/1/2018 12:30:00 PM

Governor Dayton’s proposal would provide $137.9 million in emergency, one-time funding to increase resources for every Minnesota school district by $126 per student 

At least 59 school districts throughout Minnesota are facing budget shortfalls that could result in hundreds of teachers being laid off and programs eliminated

 ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today announced a proposal for $137.9 million in one-time Emergency School Aid, which would provide additional, needed state funding for school districts across the state. Right now, at least 26 school districts in the metropolitan area and 33 school districts in Greater Minnesota are facing immediate budget deficits that could result in hundreds of teachers and support staff being laid off, along with significant cuts to school programs, in the coming year. Governor Dayton’s proposal would increase school funding by 2 percent, resulting in $124.1 million in new one-time aid to school districts in fiscal year 2019, and $13.8 million in fiscal year 2020 (formula aid goes out to districts on a 90/10 basis – 90% in first fiscal year and 10% in the following). This new funding amounts to an additional $126 for every student in Minnesota. 

“From 2003 to 2012, our state’s public school aid decreased, in real dollars, by almost $2,000 per student,” said Governor Dayton. “Since then, we have reversed that trend, increasing per-pupil aid by more than $1,000 in real dollars and investing $2 billion overall in E-12 education. 

“Still, many school districts throughout our state are now reporting that they face severe financial shortfalls, which will force the layoffs of hundreds of teachers and support staff in the next school year. This Emergency School Aid is essential to ensure that our schools can continue to provide the high quality educations their students need and deserve. I urge Legislators to join me in addressing the urgent needs of our students and teachers.” 

Since taking office in 2011, Governor Dayton has secured $2 billion in new education investments that have helped young learners across Minnesota attend all-day Kindergarten and early learning programs, along with additional investments for all K-12 students. In addition to the $2 billion he has secured, Governor Dayton has also proposed an additional $756 million in E-12 education investments since taking office, which have gone unfunded by the Legislature.

“Governor Dayton continues to make our kids and our schools a priority,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “Since he took office he’s been steadily working to increase education funding to keep pace with the rising costs and increased demands placed on our schools. His call today for additional funding relief means that schools would be able to avoid increased class sizes, maintain important programs and services, and hold the line on other cuts that could negatively impact student learning in the coming school year.”

Based on voluntary survey data collected by the Association of Metro School Districts and the Minnesota Rural Education Association, at least 59 Minnesota school districts are facing budget deficits in the coming year. According to the Association of Metro School Districts, 26 school districts in the metropolitan area are facing deficits that could lead to hundreds of teacher layoffs; according to the Minnesota Rural Education Association, at least 33 school districts in Greater Minnesota will be eliminating staff due to budget deficits, including a total of 85 teachers and 75 non-licensed staff across these 33 districts. 

Across Minnesota, state aid has not kept pace with the rising cost of ensuring excellent educations for every Minnesota student. A recent study from the North Star Policy Institute demonstrates how real funding for each Minnesota student dropped by $2,000 from 2003 to 2012. Recent investments championed by Governor Dayton have increased funding by more than $1,000 per student, but that still leaves Minnesota schools forced to do more with roughly $1,000 less, per student, than they had 15 years ago. To read the full study from North Star Policy Institute, and to look up the local impacts of this under-funding on Minnesota schools, CLICK HERE. 

To see how local school districts across Minnesota would benefit from Governor Dayton’s Emergency School Aid proposal, CLICK HERE.

Excellent Educations for Every Minnesota Student

In addition to the proposed Emergency School Aid Governor Dayton proposed today, his Budget for a Better Minnesota would invest an additional $50.7 million in E-12 education to ensure more students receive excellent educations, everywhere in Minnesota. The Governor’s budget would invest in school safety, early learning, special education, world-class higher educations, and more. It would reduce standardized testing, stabilize teacher pensions, and connect more students with stable housing. These investments remain a high priority for Governor Dayton and his Administration in the final weeks of the Legislative Session, and are essential for giving Minnesota students the world-class educations they need and deserve. To learn more about the Governor’s proposed investments in education, CLICK HERE.

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