Legislature's $485 million windfall for schools not reflected in new district budgets

  • Article by: Kim McGuire , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 29, 2013 - 10:15 PM

New budgets conservative even as $485 million headed to schools.

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orangecntyJun. 29, 1310:36 PM

What is a school district's biggest cost driver? Teacher salaries. Some districts use up to 75% of their budget on salaries. It's a people intensive operation. The 2011 Republican budget put $50 on the formula each year. The DFL budget put even more on for the next two years. All of that money gets soaked up by the teacher contracts. Every teacher in Minnesota got a raise last year and will get another next year. But everyone focuses on the legislature and the school board cutting the band program.

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honeybooJun. 29, 1311:19 PM

With Dayton's massive increase in spending on "education," we all look forward to the great leap forward in test scores that the DFL has promised Minnesotans. Should be great.

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richieswensonJun. 30, 13 2:15 AM

"Lean school budgets"? On what planet?

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comment229Jun. 30, 13 4:27 AM

orangecnty: It never ceases to amaze me, how people comment here to make a point, but rarely do they tell "the other side of the story" as Paul Harvey would have said. I know several school districts in outstate MN who have completely dropped health insurance, meaning those teachers that had that benefit, now pay for it out of their own pockets. Most districts have a built in lane increase of around $300 per year for experience; hardly a windfall. Now, care to go one step further and try to tell everyone how great the hours are and the summers off too? You will get an earful and probably deserve it.

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comment229Jun. 30, 13 4:36 AM

honeyboo: You act like this is a partisan issue with your sarcasm, when in reality, Pawlenty had eight years to turn it around with NCLB, a GWB initiative that will be a complete failure in less than a year. That being said, the reason the schools are failing is a perpetuated convenient myth. The schools are not failing, and I agree with you that money is NOT the answer. When politicians from both parties decide to identify the real problems why kids don't learn, then those problems can be addressed. I have been to many school around Minnesota, and know that all of them provide a quality education to whoever wants it. The operative word here, is "want." The relevant phrase that applies to education is that "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" and you can think about that one for awhile. When was the last time you actually heard of a politician or expert in the field of education ask a drop out or set of failing students why they are failing? Check out their attendance records, and do a survey about how much homework they have done out of school; then come back and tell us all how our schools are failing.

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comment229Jun. 30, 13 4:39 AM

PS... When NCLB ends in a year with complete failure, and the MCA scores will show modest increases if any, then you will see the politicians scrambling to come up with another mandated gimmicky program with a great sounding name, throw a ton of money at it, get a bunch of data for computer hard drives, and watch the new initiatives fail again. How can I predict all this? It's easy: OBE, Profiles of Learning, Mastery Learning, Inclusion.... Should I go on?

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eljayeffJun. 30, 13 4:42 AM

Almost one-fourth of new money approved this session will fund all-day kindergarten throughout Minnesota. For how many years have we had K thru 12 and now we need sub-K thru 12. Why is that? It is not my job to pay to baby-sit your kids. Kids at age 4 are not old enough for formal education. But... It will make a lot more teacher positions available.

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stplooklistnJun. 30, 13 5:32 AM

More should have been said about that non-voter approved levy amount that districts can take. They act broke and don't even talk about that.Why doesn't that pay for orchestra?

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credboyJun. 30, 13 6:59 AM

The "elephant in the room" is a series of labor contracts that have and will continue suck more revenue and prevent increases from reaching the classroom. The mess flows out to the taxpayers in the form of referendums that hold hostage fine arts programs. Until collective bargaining is gone the mess will continue.

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kamkamJun. 30, 13 7:51 AM

Please notice that the article clearly states that districts won't see this money until 2015. That's two years away.

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