With a unified voice, school board members from the MSBA Delegate Assembly supported a resolution December 6 to urge the Legislature to enact the recommendations of the Facilities Funding Working Group convened by the Minnesota Department of Education in 2013.
Many of the school facilities funding formulas have not been updated in 20 years. Given the wide variations among districts, state involvement in school facilities funding is critical to ensure that all students have access to a quality learning environment.
The major components of the working group recommendations are:
• increase the state share of K-12 school facilities funding from 17 percent to 32 percent.
• ensure a stronger state commitment to debt service equalization so that all districts have access to adequate, equitable and sustainable funding for major facilities projects regardless of local tax base.
• equalize property tax levies for facilities in a manner that minimizes variations in revenue per student for comparable tax effort regardless of variations in local tax base and provides stability over time.
• enable all districts to access long-term facilities maintenance revenue based on an approved 10-year facilities plan, which would provide adequate, equitable and sustainable funding for all districts.
Overall, these recommendations would bring greater equity and simplicity to the current system.
MSBA will continue to be a strong advocate for all districts to have equal access to resources to construct and maintain the facilities that provide a uniform, safe and healthy environment for every student in which to learn.