Pawlenty says education funding will stand pat this year
Minneapolis — (AP) - Gov. Tim Pawlenty is signaling there won't be much new education money coming out of this year's legislative session.
Pawlenty addressed the Minnesota School Boards Association on Thursday morning. He didn't offer the group much in the way of new initiatives or pledges of per-student funding increases.
Later, the Republican governor told reporters that last year's school funding increase was one of the largest boosts in modern history. He said the $800 million increase in K-12 education spending will probably be it for this two-year budget cycle.
"When you have an economy that is slowing down, and we just gave the schools a total state increase over a two-year period that was about 8 percent," Pawlenty said. "That's a reasonable increase. I think that's the amount of increase they're going to get during this two-year period."
Some school districts did better than others because lawmakers gave an extra boost to those with a high concentration of special education students.
All districts got 2 percent more on the per-pupil allowance for this school year and are line for 1 percent more next fall.
In November, 99 school districts asked voters to raise property taxes as a way to supplement their state aid. It was the highest number of levy votes since 2001, and about two-thirds were successful.
Pawlenty also took questions from high school journalists. He told them he would resist efforts to end Minnesota's participation in the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers want Minnesota to stop abiding by the law, which places a heavy emphasis on student testing in reading, math and science.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)