After canceling the March meeting, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) School Finance Working Group met Thursday, April 23, in a remote meeting to reevaluate the committee’s work thus far, share the fiscal challenges of distance learning and reaffirm their purpose.
The group representing school districts across the state shared the areas that COVID-19 issues affect budgets:
- Immediate budget challenges such as lost Community Education revenue; nutrition services shortfalls and expenses due to safety precautions.
- Budget challenges likely to face districts next year and beyond such as future investment in technology, additional distance learning expenses, mental health supports and more.
The group ended the meeting by reaffirming that their task or purpose has not changed. In fact, the pandemic highlights the need for education funding reform. The big pieces of the funding issues in Minnesota continue to be an issue and the group still needs to ask for the big pieces of the funding formulas to be addressed like English learners (EL), Special Education and basic skills revenue.
Commissioner of Education Mary Cathryn Ricker said the group will continue to meet remotely. She emphasized the group has a unique ability to inform the department of the school district’s challenges and needs.
The next Finance Working Group is scheduled for May 21.