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ST. PAUL – State Representative Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) joined the majority in the Minnesota House recently in approving a $14 billion funding proposal for K-12 education priorities. The measure was approved by a vote of 119-13.
“We’re increasing education spending by more than seven percent over the last biennium,” Gunther said. “I believe this bill will give our schools the needed funding to continue giving our kids a quality education.”
Overall, the bill increases the basic K-12 formula by 3% and 3% in fiscal years 2008 and 2009, and restores funding for ECFE, Head Start and School Readiness programs to appropriation levels prior to the 2003 adjustments.
Below are the proposed funding totals and the increase percentage over current base funding projections in the House K-12 bill for area school districts:
2008 Revenue 2009 Revenue
St. James $10,616,378 (3%) $11,072,573 (8.1%)
Truman $3,429,377 (4%) $3,688,638 (9.2%)
Butterfield-Odin $1,977,710 (4%) $2,021,324 (8.4%)
Martin County West $7,153,713 (3.3%) $7,340,194 (9.3%)
Fairmont Area $15,820,335 (3.8%) $16,476,986 (9.8%)
Blue Earth Area $10,798,082 (3.6%) $10,939,029 (8.4%)
Granada Huntley East $2,505,191 (4.2%) $2,425,259 (9.2%)
Despite the funding increases, Gunther said the bill isn’t perfect.
“The biggest problem with this bill is that if further widens the funding disparity gap between inner city and rural Minnesota schools,” Gunther said. “Every school should be treated equally, and we should not be prioritizing Minneapolis students over those from southern Minnesota.”
Gunther said the education bill will now head to a joint House/Senate conference committee, where he hopes the funding disparity problem can be solved. This committee will work out the differences between their bills and craft a final compromise proposal that can be passed by both bodies. Once it receives approval, it will be sent to Governor Pawlenty for his signature.
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