Education

Big Debt, Big Deal

Minnesota is living under a $27 billion mountain of student loan debt.1 A student graduating in Minnesota today has an average of $31,000 in debt.2 Whether we realize it or not, it is affecting both individuals and the broader community. The challenge of student loan debt in Minnesota is explored in a new North Star…

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Impact of Legislative Decisions on School Funding

State aid to Minnesota school districts—properly adjusted for inflation—has fluctuated significantly over the last fifteen years, but the overall trend has been downward, as documented in a recent North Star report. Of course, long-term trends are not exclusively the result of changes enacted by state policymakers.* Using information compiled during the 2017 special legislative session,…

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The School Aid Backslide: Digging into District-by-District Details

North Star’s new report, Minnesota Backslide: School Aid Cuts on the Horizon, documents the decline in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) per pupil* state operating aid to Minnesota school districts since fiscal year (FY) 2003 and the corresponding increase in school property taxes. While the general impact of the aid loss is similar in most parts of…

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Back to the Future: Declining School Aid in Minnesota

Despite increases in recent years, real per pupil state operating aid to Minnesota school districts has declined overall since fiscal year (FY) 2003. This decline in state aid translated into significant property tax hikes and—in many instances—reduced funding for public education. To compound matters, projections based on current state law indicate a significant decline in…

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Guest Commentary: How the Labor Movement Can Thrive After Janus

In an historic blow to working class people and their organizations, the United States Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 last week, overturning Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the landmark 1977 case giving public sector unions the right to collect agency, or “fair share,” fees from non-members. The…

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Our Top Takeaways from the 2018 Minnesota Legislative Session

The Minnesota House and Senate adjourned late Sunday night, and brought the 2018 legislative session to a close. With Governor Mark Dayton likely to follow through on threats to veto key pieces of legislation, the complete book on the session is still being written.   Here are quick takes from North Star’s three policy experts…

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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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