Understanding Minnesota school finance is no easy task. Trying to put it simply, we are a local governmental entity that must follow various rules, regulations, and laws at each governmental level. With each legislative session, changes in political leadership, and court decisions, we must change and accommodate how we run our schools. Many mandates dictate what programs and services districts must offer, and a large number of regulations that specify how certain funds must be used. It just isn’t as simple as balancing a personal checkbook or a business’ accounting books.
Despite the complex nature of school finance, we have created this section on our website in an effort to help our community members understand the foundation basics of it as well as our district standards we are providing for the needs of our staff and students. Below is a brief video created by the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials to help with a brief understanding of the various aspects included in School Finance.
One program area that is important to all MN Schools is Special Education. The cost to help provide services to students tends to be greater with students who have disabilities. This increased costs is partially covered by additional funding by State and Federal Entities, however almost 1/3 of those additional costs are covered by the district’s general fund. Below is another video that helps describe the funding gaps and the effects the mandates tend to have on our schools.
A publication that the MN House of Representatives produce each year provides greater detail of how the financing is accomplished in school districts. The most recent publication was update February 2020 and can be found at the link below.