Money for computers, electronic whiteboards and video equipment in schools could be found in Minnesota’s north woods, ore deposits and lakeshore property.
About 2.5 million acres of land and 1 million acres of severed mineral rights remain of 8 million acres granted to the state by the federal government in 1857, 1860 and 1866. The state constitution created a permanent school fund from use or sale of the land, though trust land income previously has been diverted to the state’s General Fund.
HF104 would require trust fund income be used to fund school technology. The bill was held over by the House K-12 Education Finance Division Feb. 12 for possible inclusion in its omnibus bill. There is no Senate companion.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Denise Dittrich (DFL-Champlin) said, “Technology is as basic as notebooks, pencils” and other classroom staples, “and a long-term, stable funding source for technology is needed to help our schools meet the needs of educating students in the 21st century.”
The Permanent School Fund was worth about $714 million in 2007, and generated about $30 million in revenue that year, said Marty Vadis, director of the Department of Natural Resources Lands and Minerals Division, which oversees trust land management. Potential income to the permanent trust is $1.4 billion from mining operations and metallic mineral leases alone over the next 20 years, he said.
The bill “addresses the progressively more urgent, unmet need of funding school districts and school and classroom technology, hardware, software and higher bandwidth networks,” said Patrick Plant, chief technology and information officer for the Anoka-Hennepin School District.
“We could do wonderful things with accountability if we had classroom response systems so that we had a pulse every single second as we’re working with kids,” said Karen Hermanson, a first-grade teacher in Brainerd.
Rep. Randy Demmer (R-Hayfield) said he doesn’t usually like categorical funding but it “makes some sense in this case” because the need is widespread, and it’s tricky to fund ongoing technology updates through traditional means of bonding for capital expenses.
The year without a K-12 law
School funding is flat, no reforms enacted
(view full story) Published 6/1/2010
House K-12 omnibus bill fast-tracked
Senate slow to respond with companion legislation
(view full story) Published 5/13/2010
K-12 education omnibus bill stalls
Teacher licensure proposals in contention
(view full story) Published 5/6/2010
K-12 education bill moves forward
Measures would activate reforms, stabilize school funding
(view full story) Published 4/29/2010
Resuscitating Race to the Top bid
New bid could hinge on proposals to boost teacher effectiveness
(view full story) Published 4/22/2010
Raiders of the lost fund
Slew of reforms could boost Permanent School Fund income
(view full story) Published 3/25/2010
Schools shore up state’s checkbook
Obscure law forces drawdown of school reserves before state can borrow
(view full story) Published 2/25/2010
At Issue: No shifts, no cuts
Education funding in a holding pattern
(view full story) Published 5/29/2009
At Issue: E-12 education bill that might have been
Funding held steady with no shifts proposed, but no Minnesota Miracle
(view full story) Published 5/15/2009
At Issue: Investing in quality care for kids
Lawmakers hope for long-term benefits of early investment
(view full story) Published 4/24/2009
At Issue: Building a better formula
Omnibus K-12 education finance bill floor debate highlights obstacles
(view full story) Published 4/24/2009
At Issue: Whose values are they anyway?
Lawmaker carries on family legacy with sex education bill
(view full story) Published 4/17/2009
First Reading: One school doesn’t fit all
Efforts put forward to tailor charter school law
(view full story) Published 4/10/2009
At Issue: Hopeful education goals in a dismal year
Omnibus bill addresses changing needs and future demands
(view full story) Published 4/3/2009
At Issue: Getting kids to move
Bill aims to ensure ‘No child left on their behind’
(view full story) Published 2/20/2009
First Reading: Accountability funding for all
A ‘New Minnesota Miracle’ requires a leap of faith
(view full story) Published 2/13/2009
At Issue: Q Comp found wanting
Performance measure has perks, but is it affordable?
(view full story) Published 2/6/2009
At Issue: Reforming education, saving money
Bipartisan support shown for mandate reduction and shared services
(view full story) Published 1/23/2009
Feature: Passing the torch of democracy
Youth immerse themselves in lingo and actions of lawmaking
(view full story) Published 1/16/2009