SAINT PAUL, Minn. – House Education Finance Chair Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis) introduced legislation this week that stabilizes school funding as COVID-19 creates uncertainty for students, families, and schools. It does this by authorizing the use of the prior year's pupil count for the 2020-2021 school year funding formulas.
“School districts around the state are experiencing an unprecedented variation in their enrollment numbers due to the pandemic,” said Chair Davnie. “Our schools are our community safety nets – they ensure that students are prepared for a successful future through meeting their needs as they grow and develop. In order to deliver on that healthy future, the legislature needs to provide school districts with as much support as possible right now and this bill will help do that.”
Rep. Davnie’s legislation would add temporary stability to districts’ bottom lines to keep supports flowing to students and would ensure districts can maintain current programs and current staffing levels.
“We are down 216 students to home school and 20 more to post-secondary enrollment options (PSEO) than in a normal year,” said Menahga School Board Chair Andrea Haverinen. “This will equate to a $2.5 million loss in revenue on a $11.5 million budget and is nearly a 22% loss in revenue for Menahga. If we are forced to go to all distance learning, we anticipate these numbers will nearly double. Menahga’s enrollment has been rising in the past years, and this is the first year in many that our numbers have declined.”
Legislators reconvened for a fifth special session on Monday. Rep. Davnie’s legislation awaits a remote public committee hearing.