Education

Emergency School Aid Increase in Context

Governor Dayton recently proposed a one-time “emergency aid” increase of $138 million to Minnesota public schools in fiscal year (FY) 2019, in the form of a two percent increase in basic general education formula revenue and selected categorical aid programs. This aid increase would replace a portion of the real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) per pupil school…

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Growth in Homestead Share of School Property Taxes

School property taxes fell significantly from 2001 to 2002.* But that relief eroded over time, as noted in part 1 of this series; homeowners have been particularly hard hit. The growth in homeowners’ share of the school property tax bill is not the result of real school spending increases, but the nuances of Minnesota’s property…

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School Property Taxes Since Elimination of the State General Education Levy

In 2001 state policymakers eliminated the uniform statewide general education levy and reduced other school property taxes.* The next year, school property taxes fell dramatically. Beginning in 2003, however, statewide school property taxes gradually increased to fill the gap—and nullified the 2002 school tax relief efforts. Today statewide school property taxes are as high as…

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Minnesota Kids Above Average, But Not as Much as They Used to Be

Ten years ago, Minnesota failed to live up to its reputation for having a well-funded public school system relative to other states, as per pupil public school spending in the Gopher State dropped below the national average. While recent increases in school funding have brought per pupil spending in Minnesota once again above the U.S.…

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Real Per Pupil State Aid Has Declined Since FY 2003

The conservative Minnesota Business Partnership recently challenged our contention that real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) per pupil state aid has declined since fiscal year (FY) 2003. North Star’s assertion in regard to declining state aid is completely accurate—if you use an inflation index appropriate to measuring the impact of inflation on school district finances. Only by using…

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Basic School Revenue Hasn't Kept Up with Inflation

Most of the assistance that Minnesota school districts receive from the state comes in the form of basic general education formula revenue. This revenue establishes a base level of funding for all districts, from which—in theory—basic school operating expenses can be funded. Despite increases in recent years, real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) basic formula revenue is over…

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Are 529 Tax Breaks Working?

In order to incentivize families to save for their children’s college education, Minnesota and other states are exploring income tax credits and deductions for 529 plans. Named after section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, these investment vehicles were designed to encourage parents to save for college by granting tax breaks on higher education savings…

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Shocking Implications of Private School Tax Credits

Conservatives continue to push vouchers and private school tax credits, despite new research (summarized in a recent North Star article) indicating that this approach is counter-productive to improving student achievement. Minnesota is among the states considering expanding the K-12 education tax credit to include contributions by individuals and corporations to foundations that provide vouchers and…

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Sharp Jump in Homeowner Property Taxes

Property taxes paid as a percent of income have declined for the typical Minnesota homeowner since 2007, according to the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence (MCFE), formerly the Minnesota Taxpayers Association. As noted in the previous article in this series, however, this conclusion is not necessarily warranted by the data. Furthermore, if we look at…

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School Vouchers are the Wrong Choice

Many in the conservative movement advocate for “school choice”: aka educational reform in the way of school vouchers, but there are waves and waves of research that suggest private school vouchers harm students who receive them. But first: What are school vouchers? The concept originated with Milton Friedman, and is essentially a strategy to privatize…

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