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Farmington, MN: "Costs for SPED go up"; districts need to seek help from taxpayers

Dec 19, 2018, Red Wing, MN, Farmington Independent: Farmington School Board adopts final budget, 2019 tax levy …District Finance Director Jane Houska offered a detailed summary of the 2019 school levy, approved to be $26,968,507. The levy funds the school for 2019-20. … Since the 2003 school year, Houska said funding for basic general education revenue has fallen behind the rate of inflation. "To the fact as we are looking at today's dollars, we are roughly $618 short," Houska said. "Meaning if per pupil they would have kept up with inflation all of those years, then we would have an additional $618 per pupil." Today, that would translate to roughly $4.9 million more that the Farmington School District would be receiving — or equal to paying for 75 additional teaching staff. Another area within school funding that is driving decisions within the budget is special education. "It really has become a hot topic and the state has put together several tax forms to take a look at special education funding," Houska said. Each year costs for special education go up. The last thing from a public education basis that really has changed since 1992-93, is that today roughly 65 percent of school districts need to hold referendums to keep schools running, Houska said. "Today all school districts need to hold referendums to the tune of $1,371 per pupil," she said. "It just goes to show that in order to keep our buildings going, they needed to go out to taxpayers to seek funding." …

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