SAINT PAUL, Minn—House and Senate Republicans announced a comprehensive education funding proposal that would make available up to $225 million in funding for schools across Minnesota. In total, this proposal delivers nearly $100 million more than Governor Dayton’s request to address school budget shortfalls, and up to $225 per pupil compared to $138 per pupil as proposed by the governor.
State law requires that by July 1, 2018, the state compensate Minnesota schools for all designated school trust lands that prohibit long-term economic returns. To make good on that promise, $50 million would be provided from the budget reserves for a one-time payment, providing an increase to every Minnesota school district on a per pupil basis in Fiscal Year 2019.
Additionally, the Republican compromise offer would temporarily suspend requirements that schools set aside 2 percent of the basic aid formula for staff development for one year—freeing up as much as $125 million for staff retention. Finally, for schools with positive reserves in their Community Education Fund Balances, the plan would authorize a one-time transfer to school General Funds to help cover budget shortfalls, providing up to $52 million in additional dollars.
"Republicans are taking a multi-faceted approach to give schools with shortfalls access to more funds. One of the mechanisms is money we already owe to schools and two are mechanisms Democrats have used themselves in times of shortfalls,” said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown. “Overall, we’re presenting a serious proposal that’s nearly double what Governor Dayton requested.”
“The governor has asked us to meet him at the fifty yard line. With this education funding proposal, we’ve done that and more, providing more funding, more flexibility and more resources for every Minnesota school from Roseau to Rochester,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa. “This offer combined with our safe schools funding proposal adds up to a significant investment in Minnesota schools.”
Republicans are proposing approximately $28 million in school safety funding in the Supplemental Budget as well as $25 million toward school safety in the Capital Investment bill.