On March 15, Representative Bob Barrett (R-Shafer) presented legislation (House File 2540) to the Education Finance Committee that is intended to provide significant help for those school districts with per pupil education revenue that is significantly below the state average.
“This legislation will benefit school districts such as Chisago Lakes, North Branch, and Rush City that currently receive substantially less funding per student compared to other districts in Minneapolis and St. Paul,” Barrett explained.
“The current education funding problem was created through many, many years of legislation and legislators that favored metro schools to the detriment of all others, including those in Chisago County. Now is the time to fix this problem!”
House File 2540, the first of its kind in Minnesota, would create a concept called Disparity Aid. This aid would help equalize funding to any district or charter school that currently receives less than 87 percent of the state average for school funding.
Currently North Branch school kids receive funding that is 17 percent below the state average. North Branch Area Public Schools Superintendent Deb Henton testified in support of the bill.
“This bill is the first step in solving Minnesota’s long held problem of inequitable school funding,” Representative Barrett said. “The sooner we act, the better the outlook for Chisago County’s school kids.”
Senator Sean Nienow (R-Cambridge) carries the companion bill in the Minnesota Senate.