Monday, January 20, 2014

New Study on Value of Early Childhood Education.  Let me amend the headline and insert "Quality" in front of "Early Childhood Education."  An article in today's MinnPost cites a new study performed by economists Greg Duncan and Aaron Sojourner that contends that access to high-quality early childhood education programs for all children under age 3 would eliminate the achievement gap between white students and their minority counterparts.  Their evidence is quite compelling and shows how investment in quality early childhood programs more than pay for themselves over the long term.

Link to MinnPost article:

Link to "Can Intensive Early Childhood Intervention Programs Eliminate Income-Based Cognitive and Achievement Gaps?":

School Facilities Financing Report Posted.  At least there is a link to the report, but I am having trouble getting the link to work right now.  As I reported last week, the contents of this report could prove to be of great value to school districts throughout the state.  The recommendations contained in the report would provide access to increased revenue (considerably increased revenue) to most school districts throughout the state, especially to those districts that are not eligible for the Alternative Facilities Program under current law.

The thing to always remember is that there are two types of revenue limits:  (1) the statutorily-defined limit, and (2) the realistic limit.  The only reason I mention this is that although there will be significantly greater access to facility-related revenue in the report's recommendations, the ability of a number of school districts to fully exercise this access may not be as great.  That is why the increased equalization that is also contained in the report is so important.  Without increased equalization, the tax effort necessary to generate the increased revenue at the amounts suggested in the report would be considerably higher in low property wealth districts, making it highly unlikely that low property wealth districts would be able to enjoy the full benefit of the proposed increases.  Even with the equalization, the tax sensitivity in some districts may prevent them from enjoying the recommended increases.

District-by-district runs were distributed at the last meeting of the School Facilities Financing Working Group, but there is not a link to the runs on the MDE website.  I will try to find a way to get the reports posted at the SEE website.

MDE Link to Final Report:

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