Friday, March 21, 2014

Doughnut Hole Filled!!!!  I was looking for the closest color to raspberry, because as I write this, the omnibus tax bill is heading to the Governor for his promised signature and in the process:


All kidding aside, in a rather Bismarckian move (I guess I can't stop kidding), the "doughnut hole" in school funding has been filled and what was formerly known as Location Equity Revenue (now known as Local Option Revenue) will be extended to all districts in the state regardless of their size or geographic location.  In addition to the $300/PU highly-equalized board-approved referendum, districts will now get to approve up to $424/PU by board vote.  In most instances, this will simply be a transfer from the district's referendum to the new local options revenue category, but for districts with referendum revenue per pupil unit less than $724/PU, the opportunity exists for new revenue.

Thanks go out to Senator Rod Skoe (DFL-Clearbrook), Chair of the Senate Tax Committee, and bill chief authors Senator Vicki Jensen (DFL-Owatonna) and Joe Radinovich (DFL-Crosby) for their work on this measure.

This provision takes effect for property taxes payable in 2015 for the 2015-2016 school year with state aid costs not taking effect until next biennium.  The total revenue cost will be about $50 million per year, with a bit more aid then levy.  This will leave the entire K-12 budget target for this year intact and we will see in the coming week what the House and Senate will commit to K-12 education during this session.  There are a lot of areas for possible investment, including paying for costs related to the anti-bullying bill that is expected to pass, facilities needs, and teacher evaluation costs.

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