School Finance Working Group compiles list of preliminary recommendations

School Finance Working Group compiles list of preliminary recommendations

The Minnesota Department of Education’s School Finance Working Group is picking up the pace as it approaches finalizing their recommendations. The recommendations the group presented at its August 20 meeting include:

  • Special Education:
    • Reduce the special education funding cross-subsidy
    • Simplify special education funding formulas
    • Reform charter school tuition billing
  • Increase initial English Language Learners revenue and concentration allowance and adjust for inflation. Fund with 80% state aid and 20% levy equalized at 150% of Adjusted Net Tax Capacity (ANTC).
  • Replace Free and Reduced Lunch eligibility percentage with a new measure to allocate compensatory education revenue.
  • Two Early Learning proposals to be studied further.
  • $250,000 in Full Service Community Schools for every school targeted for Comprehensive and Targeted support under ESSA — funded with 50% state aid and 50% local equalized levy.
  • Extend Q Comp to all districts — cooperatives and intermediates to receive $2,000 for every teacher.
  • Pupil transportation costs would be increased from 18.2% to 60% of the unreimbursed costs funded with levy and equalized.
  • Referendum levy cap remains at 10% of basic revenue.
  • Local Adjustment Revenue is a new component of general education revenue based on Geographic Cost Education Index (GCEI) and funded with a levy on referendum market value (RMV) equalized at 125% of the state average.
  • Safe Schools Revenue:
    • Increase levy cap from $36 to $72 per student
    • Minimum per district of $30,000
    • $72 for charter schools
    • $30 for intermediates and cooperatives
    • Equalize the levy at 125% of state average ANTC
  • Extend Permanent School Trust Fund payments to tribal schools.
  • Equity and transition revenues equalized at 125%.
  • Operating capital equalized at 300% of average ANTC.
  • Cost of the total package is just over $1 billion in new revenue.
  • Overall change in net property tax levies is zero.

The next working group meetings are scheduled for:

  • 4 p.m. Thursday, August 27
  • 4 p.m. Thursday, September 10
  • 4 p.m. Thursday, September 17
  • 5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 24

Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker suggested group members work toward determining a decision-making strategy that would prioritize identified school finance pressure points.

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