School board members at this month’s 2014 MSBA Delegate Assembly overwhelmingly voted to increase equalization for districts receiving less than the state average in total general education funding per pupil by making voter-approved school referendum revenue more affordable in low property wealth districts.
• We have a constitutional requirement to provide a “uniform” system of public education.
• The education opportunities available to students should not be dependent on where they live.
• State education funding has not kept pace with inflation.
• Minnesota continues to have a substantial education funding gap between the highest and lowest funded districts.
• As a state, we continue to be dependent on property taxes to fund education.
• Equalization is the most effective and efficient way to make education funding from property tax revenue more fair between property poor and property rich school districts.
MSBA appreciates the work of the 2013 Legislature as they did improve the referendum revenue equalization formula but the continued reliance on property taxes to fund public education will require inflating the equalizing formulas and increasing equalizing factors for tier two. Inconsistent state funding and the dependency on local levies to fund the basics of education puts low-property districts at a disadvantage in providing an adequate education for the students in their school district.
The MSBA Government Relations team will seek to enhance the equalizing factors for those districts where taxpayers must pay two to three times more for the same amount of school referendum revenue as taxpayers in high property wealth districts.