Governor Unveils Big Proposal. Governor Dayton unveiled a significant education funding package just an hour ago. His proposal calls for a one-time increase in the general education basic formula of 2%. This would amount to $138 million statewide. Because it is one-time money, it would not be folded into the on-going E-12 budget and thus would not have those dreaded budget "tails" that seem to be the bane of government budget policy these days.
When pressed by the press, the Governor used a medical analogy to justify the one-time spending, saying this was a tourniquet that would save the limb by preventing damaging budget cuts that most districts in the state are poised to undertake. He also pointed out the erosion of the general education basic formula's buying power by pointing out how far it has fallen behind inflation over the past two decades (if you want to go back three decades, we have that graph on the SEE website).
Obviously, this is viewed as a step forward or a step backwards depending on your vantage point. With the Senate releasing a tax cut proposal that is much larger than either the Governor's or the House's, it appears legislative priorities will go elsewhere. That said, there has been a lot of focus nationally on education funding with teacher strikes in a number of states. While Minnesota may not be in the same situation as Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, there is little question that school districts here are being faced with program cuts year after year. In addition, at a time when schools are being asked to do more in providing student support and expand curriculum to help students better map their futures, more revenue is needed.
The Governor's press release contained a data run showing the amount of revenue each district would receive under his proposal and I will post that information as soon as it is available in electronic form.