Dayton proposes new special education money
Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed an additional $19 million in special education funding for next year, as such expenses rise throughout the state. His plan would increase spending by $22 million the following year. Minnesota Department of Education ...
Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed an additional $19 million in special education funding for next year, as such expenses rise throughout the state.
His plan would increase spending by $22 million the following year.
Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said Thursday that rising costs limit opportunities to all students, and create constraints on programs. The proposed $19 million increase, she said, would contain growth and provide some relief.
"It will directly impact every student in those districts," Cassellius said.
She noted that costs are rising from increased numbers of students needing services, more staff, lower staffing ratios and inflationary increases in staff salaries and benefits.
The Duluth school district would be set to receive an additional $250,000 in special education funds, which would put a slight dent in what it spends from its general fund to cover unfunded special education costs, called the cross subsidy. Last year that unfunded gap was $9 million.
Duluth officials and School Board members have joined districts across the state in lobbying for more money for such costs, and for the state to study special education spending issues.
St. Cloud Superintendent Bruce Hentges said his district's cross subsidy is $14 million.
"All of that has to come from somewhere, and if special education had better funding, we'd be able to expand on what we can offer students," he said in a news release. "This is happening at schools across our state, and it's not fair to our students and staff."
The state's cross subsidy was $672 million in 2017 and is expected to grow to $817 million by 2021.
Lawmakers last increased special education funding in 2013, by $40 million.