It’s a shell game at the state Legislature
Published 9:15 am Friday, April 1, 2011
Column: Mike Funk, No. 2 Pencil
The state Legislature is playing a shell game with the funding of education for our students.
In both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate, the public is being told of an increase in funding to school districts. The general education funding formula is increasing for Albert Lea under both plans.
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However, both plans are significantly reducing our special education funding. So while politicians are touting an increase to the general education formula, they are quietly supporting a reduction in special education aid.
This is significant for a district like Albert Lea, for we are a regional center, and we service a number of special education students from smaller outlying districts.
The end result is significant reductions in funding for Albert Lea Area Schools.
In the box in the upper right are the numbers for District 241 the next two years under both bills.
With 3,200 students, the estimated impact of the House bill on Albert Lea Area Schools is a reduction of $192,000 over two years.
The Senate bill is similar, with a net reduction of $96 per student in 2012, and $90 per student in 2013.
With 3,200 students, the estimated impact of the Senate bill on Albert Lea Area Schools is a reduction of $595,200 over two years.
Although some districts will receive an increase with this funding, Albert Lea is being impacted negatively.
I encourage you to ask our local representatives about their thoughts on these bills.
As your superintendent, I can assure you we can plan for any contingency. It is part of my duty to inform the public about these “increases” to our education dollars here in Albert Lea.
Mike Funk is the superintendent of Albert Lea Area Schools.
House Education Finance Bill (HF 934)
2012 general ed. increase per student $33
2012 special ed. revenue decrease per student $(67)
Total reduction $-34
2013 general ed. increase per student $113
2013 special ed. revenue decrease per student $(139)
Total reduction $-26