School Finance Working Group discusses inequities, funding streams

School Finance Working Group discusses inequities, funding streams

Highlights from the School Finance Working Group meeting held Thursday, July 16, included a message from Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker, a look at funding streams that vary across school districts, an update on draft options for recommendations compiled by the group’s subcommittees, and a roadmap as to what is next for the working group.

Commissioner Ricker thanked the members of the working group and reaffirmed that their work is needed now more than ever.

The working group examined research from the University of Minnesota that exposes another type of inequity in the general education formula – geographic cost differences. This inequity affects 76 school districts in metro area due to their higher labor costs based on their location.

In the group’s review of some funding streams that are not equally available to all school districts, they looked at recommendations in the areas of Q Comp, Full-Service Community Schools, and Early Education.

Commissioner Ricker announced the working group will continue to look at all the areas of education funding pressure points brought forward by working group members and subcommittees during July. In August, the working group will refine solutions and identify those items that rise to the top and will take other items off the table. In September, the group will form a proposal.

The next working group meetings are scheduled for:

  • 4 p.m. Thursday, July 30
  • 5 p.m. Thursday, August 13
  • 4 p.m. Thursday, August 20
  • 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

The July 30 agenda includes items concerning the basic education formula and property tax equalization.

The working group’s mission is to address education-funding issues facing the state. The group reviews key funding streams, identifies options for school finance reform, and seeks consensus on recommendations for systemic change. A review of previous working group sessions is available on the School Finance Working Group webpage.

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