There is about five weeks left to the session. The major finance bills must be moved out of committee by April 20.
The House released their
on Thursday. Much of the $329 million surplus in the general fund goes towards taxes ($107 million) and transportation ($101 million). E-12 Education's slice of that surplus is $30 million, most will be dedicated to school safety. As discussed in
last week's update
, the House proudly announced a $50 million school safety package. Doing the math, $20 million of that must be coming from a source other than the state. Most likely, school boards will be given the authority to increase local property taxes to access this revenue for school safety. We will see the details when the education finance omnibus bills come out next week.
Expanding broadband access in greater Minnesota with $15 million in grants is in the House Jobs and Energy target. This is a key equity issue that impacts the quality of education in rural Minnesota.
. Also, it has been reported that the funding for the pension bill is in the targets.
Taking large sums out of the general fund for roads and bridges is a new trend. Historically, that funding is generated through the gas tax which is a dedicated funding stream for transportation. Education has no dedicated funding stream and relies on the general fund for all of its state funding. The new trend is not good for public education as it brings in more competition for the same dollars.
Although the Senate has not formally announced their targets, Senator Carla Nelson, chair of Senate E-12 Education Finance Committee, repeatedly tells her committee that their target is $0. However, apparently funding for school safety falls under the Senate's
"Caring for People" agenda
announced earlier in the session.