School funding bill advances in Legislatureby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Property-poor school districts and those districts without a voter-approved operating levy would get some funding help under legislation advanced Tuesday by a Minnesota Senate panel.
The bill would provide an additional $110 million for state equalization efforts over the next two years. DFL Senate Tax Committee Chair Rod Skoe of Clearbrook, the bill's chief author, said school funding is supposed to be similar across the state regardless of the local property tax base. But Skoe said equalization efforts haven't been adjusted in 20 years.
"As property values have changed all over the state, this ability to have the expectation of comparable funding irrespective of where you live has been diminished," Skoe said. "This is to try to restore that."
Skoe's proposal also allows some school boards to impose an operating levy without seeking voter approval. The bill now goes to the Senate Education Finance Division.