June 28, 2017, St. Paul Pioneer Press: Despite new money, school districts tightening their belts http://focus.mnsun.com/2017/06/28/despite-new-money-school-districts-tightening-their-belts/ Even though the Minnesota Legislature approved $483 million in new funding for public schools, two-thirds of districts in the Twin Cities are tightening their budget belts.... Many school advocates see a state funding system that hasn’t kept pace with rising costs and has never fully met its obligations to pay for special education and other mandated services. ... Additionally, the new two-year spending plan includes no new money for special education services, which continue to eat up districts’ operating expenses. Minnesota schools already cover a gap of more than $600 million annually between special education services mandated by state and federal rules and the funding those entities provide. In 2016, special education accounted for 18 percent of Minnesota districts’ spending.