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Source: Executive Budget Summary

The Budget for Education includes funding for K-12 education, family and early childhood programs, the Department of Children, Families and Learning, the Residential Academies for the Deaf and the Blind in Faribault, and the Perpich Center for Arts Education.

General Fund education spending will increase by $489 million in FY 2002-03 compared to FY 2000-01. Of this increase, $123 million is in new initiative recommended by the Governor. An additional $10 million to address teaching workforce issues is recommended from the Workforce Development Fund.

Over $1.46 billion of additional K-12 spending is reflected in the Governor's tax reform plan, including the elimination of the general education levy, and enhanced equalization of other levy programs. State spending on schools is only part of the K-12 funding picture.

In FY 2002, the state will provide schools with 62 percent coming from property taxes. With the governor's proposed state funding of the general education levy, the state's share of education funding will increase to over 80 percent of school district's total revenue in FY 2003. The proposals in the tax plan will free up resources at the local level, leaving districts with more capacity to fund local priorities, based on each community's individual needs.

Accountability for Education Spending

The Governor's FY 2002-03 education budget focuses on accountability and workforce development. Given significant increases in education funding in recent years - over 16 percent from the 1998-99 to the 2000-01 biennium - this budget instead focuses on targeted, strategic investments. In addition, several proposals address collaboration and consolidation, in order to provide better services to the public.

Child Care Consolidation

As a means of providing more efficient and effective service to the public, this budget proposes a consolidation of the existing child care programs. In addition to consolidating the existing Basic Sliding Fee and MFIP child care programs into a single system, resources will be transferred from the child care program formerly in the Higher Education Services Office and from the dependent care tax credit in the department of Revenue.

General Education Increase and Reform

This budget includes $65 million for an increase to the general education formula allowance that will allow districts to provide a cost of living increase to their instructional staff. In addition to the increase, a number of changes to the education funding system are proposed to help make the funding system more understandable, and , as a result, more accountable, to the people who fund it - the taxpayers.

Advance Achievement and Accountability

As we make schools more accountable, we want to make sure that those students and schools who need extra assistance aren't left behind. With this in mind, $10 million is recommended to fund additional assessment tests, school assistance teams, and staff at CFL to provide assistance to struggling districts. This initiative provides critical information to districts, parents, and other stakeholders.

High-Performing Teachers

Compensating teachers based only on years of experience and the number of classes they take does not provide the proper incentives to ensure that schools have what students really need - effective, well-trained teachers. The performance incentive pool proposal provides $15 million to fund $150 per pupil unit for districts and school sites that try alternative approaches to compensation, rather than the traditional "steps and lanes."

Maintaining School Facilities

Recently, CFL released a report that highlighted the deterioration of school facilities. The existing maximum effort loan program encourages winners and losers, forcing the Governor and legislature to pick and choose between school districts. The enhanced debt service equalization proposal in this budget ($7 million beginning in FY 2003) provides a more equitable means of assisting local communities in addressing their school building needs. An additional portion of this initiative (over $20 million annually) is funded in the Governor's tax plan.

Building on Success

Two programs proven to be effective in increasing student achievement receive additional funding. Currently, American Indian students have one of the highest dropout rates of students in Minnesota. The Governor's budget combines three existing programs into a new program called Success for the Future, and doubles the funding, to total $6.7 million.

The Fast Break to Learning school breakfast program funding level also is increased in this budget to expand services to ensure that all eligible schools receive funding. A recent study by the University of Minnesota found that students who have access to a nutritious breakfast through this program achieved at much higher levels than those who did not participate in a breakfast program.

Developing the Teacher Workforce

Teacher shortages, especially in specific areas, threaten to compromise the future of our children's education. This budget provides $10 million from the Workforce Development Fund for Teachers for the 21st Century, a new program designed to recruit, train and maintain high quality teachers in the workforce.

In addition, $1.5 million has been reallocated from other programs to address critical workforce needs, providing funding for a Minnesota chapter of the Jobs for America's Graduates program and to expand the existing ISEEK information system.

One specific complaint heard from potential teachers is that they are interested in teaching, but can't bear the thought of battling the state bureaucracy for licensure. In addition to several legislative proposals to encourage alternative paths to licensure, $2.6 million is provided to computerize the existing licensure system. The new information system will streamline record keeping to consolidate education and security information on potential teacher applicants, as well as speeding up the time it takes to get a license from 12 weeks at peak times to 3 weeks or less.

Tax Reform

In addition to the state assumption of the general education levy and related changes, the Governor's tax plan recommends modifications to the education tax credit. These changes save $15.1 million in FY 2003, but are mainly aimed at improving compliance with and utilization of the credit.

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