Education-Funding Overhaul Plan OK'd by Task Force

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, November 29, 2012

The task force’s members have been meeting since June and had deliberately not asked Melcher for the runs. Their reasoning: It was better to craft a policy prescription that made sense and then let the resident wizard do his thing.The presentation’s fat and sassy bottom line, which the task force promptly voted to approve: Schools could see a 7 percent increase in funding in the next four to six years without too much taxpayer pain. State education spending would rise from $9 billion a year to $9.7 billion by fiscal year 2019 at the latest with revenue increasing 1.2 percent to 1.7 percent a year.

The biggest structural fix in the package is the proposed shift of $300 of the property taxes Minnesotans now pay to their districts from a local levy to a state one, a smoother, more progressive tax. The money would go into the general education formula, which would be restored to its fiscal year 2003 level, adjusted for inflation.

The second-biggest item: State aid for special ed services, lagging some $600 million behind their actual cost, would rise by $150 million to $200 million.  

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