that every child should be educated in an equitable manner.
I believe education should be a high priority for the future of Minnesota! Parents should be at the forefront of the decision making process in their child's education, and we must ensure that our children are prepared to be successful in life and in the job market, with an education that can be accomplished in a variety of ways.
Unfortunately, there have been inequities in the funding of Minnesota's public schools for some time. Having served for seven years on the Crookston Board of Education, I've experienced inconsistency from the Minnesota legislature, with both increases and flat funding of education.
Much of state funding is determined "after the fact", which means, after school districts have set budgets or negotiated contracts. This process is frustrating to parents, students, taxpayers, school administration and educators; add to that, the task of meeting numerous regulations and mandates from both the federal and state governmental level, which must be met by local districts. To be sure, some of the mandates are necessary, but many tend to repress creativity among administrators, educators, staff and elected board members.
There are many categories in school funding, which include; special education, title funds, general education, budget, health and safety. Within these titles our schools are funded differently. Since 2003, northwest Minnesota schools have been funded from 2-thousand to 4-thousand dollars less than the metro Minneapolis /St Paul public schools.
Financing of our educational system is very complicated. A brief example;
A high school student is funded at a 1.3% level, because of the input in the education needs and choices of that age group.
Kindergarteners are valued at 66%, because the state of Minnesota does not recognize all day kindergarten.
These factors, and so many others, make it difficult to keep within a set budget on a consistent basis.
Despite the loftiness of the states' intentions, the current funding system of our public schools must be examined, revised and based on fairness/equity. We can properly and adequately achieve that goal.
Consistent, fair funding of our schools will result in long-term stability, while enhancing the overall success of our state!
"Surely no tax can be called that which we give to our children in the most valuable of all forms, that on instruction."