Stillwater: Education Funding Q and A
Two wise guys who read this blog started talking seriously about local school funding issues here and began to discuss them intelligently. This threw me, so I decided to run it here on the "front page" so that interested folks could comment, if they wished. Naturally, tn's answer is his own; tn sounds like he knows what he's talking about, but you never know. "tn" might stand for "totally nuts"; on the other hand it might stand for "terribly nowledgable"; you never know on the web.
This is only slightly on topic here, but it is in regards to school funding. I grew up here and when I was in high school, we didn't have any activity fees to deal with. We had to buy or rent our own instruments for the music programs, but that was about it. Driver's Education, sports, busing...all were free. My question: What happened to the funding that allowed activities to go from free for all to only for those that can pay?
Eric, This is a tough question but I'll try to be brief. Before Ventura was Governor each district controlled much of their own money. The state kicked in a little per student. Ventura wanted to equalize the district so that the poorer districts could offer more opportunities for their kids. They capped the percentage a district could levy on property owners. Because 834 is primarily residential it affects homeowners much more than say, Edina. They have a large business base and the businesses don't have a vote per say.
Also much of the funding has been stagnant for the past 10-12 years.
A recent study that was finished by several education groups showed that the schools in MN are under-funded by a billion dollars, meaning the actual cost to provide a decent education for all the kids in the state.
Healthcare and energy costs also take money out of the classroom, which leads to fees for extra-ciricular activities to go up.