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Area school funding increases listed

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

The Minnesota Department of Education recently released detailed school funding information following the 2013 legislative session. As a result of the budget passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Dayton, K-12 education received an increase of $485 million, including the funding of all-day kindergarten starting in the fall of 2014. The budget also includes $40 million for early childhood scholarships and accelerates the pay back of the school shift.

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“Education is the key to Minnesota’s long-term success,” said State Representative John Ward (DFL – Baxter). “Building the world’s best work force will bring new businesses to Minnesota along with new industries and new innovation.”

Under this bill, Brainerd School District would receive a formula increase of $840,113 or $131 per-pupil in fiscal year 2014 (1.3 percent), and $3.7 million or $584 per-pupil in fiscal year 2015 (5.9 percent). Pequot Lakes Public Schools would receive a formula increase of $179,886 or $111 per-pupil in fiscal year 2014 (1.4 percent) and just over $1 million or $665 per-pupil in fiscal year 2015 (8.4 percent).

Aitkin Public School District would receive a formula increase of $152,492 or $127 per-pupil in fiscal year 2014 (1.5 percent), and $823,774 or $699 per-pupil in fiscal year 2015 (8.1 percent). Crosby-Ironton Public Schools would receive a formula increase of $154,101 or $135 per-pupil in fiscal year 2014 (1.5 percent), and $589,454 or $524 per-pupil in fiscal year 2015 (5.7 percent).

Hill City Public Schools would receive a formula increase of $43,751 or $160 per-pupil in fiscal year 2014 (1.5 percent), and $213,470 or $788 per-pupil in fiscal year 2015 (7.1 percent). McGregor Public Schools would receive a formula increase of $66,854 or $174 per-pupil in fiscal year 2014 (1.6 percent) and $287,923 or $762 per-pupil in fiscal year 2015 (6.9 percent).

The budget also contains new strategies to close the revenue equity gap and reduce property taxes. The budget enhances the equity formula guaranteeing all districts at least $300 per student of equity and referendum revenue, includes a new Student Achievement Levy and raises and indexes operating referendum levy equalization factors to reduce property taxes. These provisions were chief authored in the House by State Representative Joe Radinovich (DFL – Crosby).

“Every Minnesota child deserves an opportunity to get a world-class education and succeed in a global economy,” said Rep. Radinovich. “Minnesota’s future economic competitiveness will hinge on the success of Minnesota’s kids who are sitting in classrooms today and the equity measures in our budget are a step towards ensuring that all Minnesota students have the same opportunity to succeed.”

Along with funding increases, the budget implements several necessary reforms, according to a statement issued by Radinovich and Ward. Schools will be required to develop strategic plans for student achievement and update the public on their status each year. The state will utilize the Minnesota Department of Education’s Regional Centers of Excellence to provide assistance and work with schools to reach their goals.

A new student assessment system will be implemented that ensures students stay on the path to being career and college ready, and innovation grants that promote new ways to increase student achievement will be available to schools.

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