Monday, January 28, 2013

MN Education Spending Increase

In G2A less than $40 Million, we were discussing the proposed budget in general.  Here I would like to discuss the proposed Education funding plans in specific.

I think the early education and full day kindergarten portions make sense, though some of the other expenditures seem questionable at best.  What do you think?

MPR Gov Education Plan
Parents United: Gov's Budget Proposal
Budget for Better MN
MN Budget Proposal Presentation
Education MN Gov Budget
Dooher's Comments
MN School Board Assoc
MN SUN Budget Details

Here is a snippet I cut out the MN SUN article:
"The governor touched on the education monies used in a shift to balance a previous budget and said will be paid back under a four-year plan. The plan is to pay back $1.6 billion this biennium, leaving $1.1 billion to be repaid.

More than $640 million (including higher education) is invested in Minnesota students by the following budget appropriations:
  • $118 million in new school funding, including $52 in new money for every student
  •  $125 million investment in special education funding, providing more equity for schools
  • $92 million in early learning, including $44 million in Early Childhood Scholarships for 11,000 young children and other help for families to afford high quality child care
  • $40 million for optional All-Day Kindergarten, providing access for 46,000 kids
  • $80 million for the Minnesota State Grant program, the largest increase in 25 years
  • $80 million for MnSCU (Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System) and $80 million for the University of Minnesota
  • $10 million for teacher evaluation to support teachers, improve student achievement
  • $8.9 million for English Language Learning to help students communicate proficiently
  • $4.5 million for Regional Centers of Excellence to help the most struggling schools
  • $1 million for school bullying prevention, creating safer learning environments
  • $1 million for emergency preparedness for schools, law enforcement and community"


Anonymous said...

So, $2.7B in the "shift." If Republicans had not been forced to compromise two years ago, it would have been only $2B, and if Dayton hadn't vetoed repayment that Republicans passed last year, it would only be $1.5 B, with the rest repaid this year. You just wonder how he gets away with "stuff" like that.

J. Ewing

John said...

I thought it was kind of funny that apparently the shift isn't a big deal as long as the yearly funding is increased.

Doing some research on state funding history, I found this interesting Educ Funding Pres'n.

Checkout slides 28 & 38. I wonder what slide 28 would have shown if they had gone back further than 2003, more like slide 38. It seems they apparently picked the high point to make things look worse than they have historically been.

On slide 38 they say the state share is currently 76.6%, whereas in 1998 the state share was only 61.0%. Whereas in 2003 the state share was at an all time high of 86.3%.

R-Five said...

You're refering to Jesse's Big Plan which moved much local funding to the state. I'm not totally opposed to this because property taxes should pay for property costs, like police, roads, utilities, and plowing, not education or welfare.

But there was a problem: sustainability. This was started with the Y2K/Internet bubble windfall tax revenues, with a permanent "funding source" to be named (levied) later, which never happened. Meanwhile, the districts (and cities and counties) used the new breathing room to re-raise the property taxes and here we are again at the threshold of pain.

All this is really academic. Get the spending right and the taxes will take care of themselves.

John said...

That "right" amount of spending seems difficult to get consensus on...

John said...

We have discussed this before, however I'll ask again.

What should be the expection of public ed?

Maximize the academic level of every child?
Ensure as many kids as possible attain at least a certain academic competency level?

Anonymous said...

Are you posing those questions as an either/or? Because I'm not seeing the difference. Either way, the current education system is so far from EITHER that they almost need to go someplace else to start. I think my "big plan" for education would be to reduce compensatory aid substantially, and then create an "incentive funding" system by which schools could present plans and CONTRACT for a certain improvement for a certain funding increase.

J. Ewing

John said...

Since money is a primary constraint, I think these are important questions...

Personally I think the Public schools spend too much of their money striving to offer programs and content that should be part of the college curriculum or a personal hobby. They do this to ensure that the best and brightest are challenged at all times. I mean the parents of these children are often strong advocates of these offerings and they often have the ability to place their kid's in alternative programs. (ie take the funding and run)

In RDale we have AP, IB, Spanish Immersion, STEM, PSEO, Orchestra, etc. Few of these are "required" to ensure the students meet or exceed the basic state standards. They are there to ensure the district can attract and retain students.(ie funding) By offering programs that people want and/or by allowing parents to place their kids in a less diverse classroom/school.

Now complexity costs, however not having them would likely cost more in lost revenues. So I am not arguing against these programs.

However this going above and beyond requirements isn't doing anything for the achievement gap except increasing it. The kids left in the normal classes/schools are often the kids that do not have the most supportive parents. I mean the parents did not make the effort or could not afford to place their kid's in these special programs/schools... And they sure weren't changing houses to move to the Wayzata, Edina or Orono districts...

Anonymous said...

Personally I think the Public schools spend too much of their money striving to offer programs and content that should be part of the college curriculum or a personal hobby

Chalk it up to the cost of competition, and school choice. And note how folks who deny that those factors are present in public education, totally miss the impact they have on our schools. Basically, our schools offer those things because their competitors offer them. Something we must always keep in mind. Our school districts are far more worried about their ability to compete with their neighboring public schools than they will ever be, about competing with any private school that happens to locate itself nearby. however many public dollars we give them.


John said...

Competing with Privates... What a silly concept given the $5,000 to $20,000 tuitions the Privates need to charge due to the very very little Public funding they receive. Now if vouchers were available, that would change very quickly. For better or worse...

I think they do it to compete and because there is a group of folks that believe Public schools should be all things to all people. If you double their funding they would find some new enlightening offering to spend it on. That's why I asked what is the duty of the Public Schools?

Anonymous said...

Competing with Privates...

And of course they don't really. Private schools offer things public schools don't provide and aren't in the business of providing. Yes, public schools are in the business of being all things to all people, a business private schools are quite content not to be in.


John said...

Now as tax payers, do we really want our Public Schools being all things to all people?

Or do we want them spending their funding to ensure that as many children as possible are academically ready to face adulthood in the United States? (ie prepared to be good productive citizens)

And yes languages, arts, sports, broadening curriculums, advanced courses, etc are good things. Yet if the funding for these programs is provided at the expense of the unluckiest kids not meeting basic academic proficiency standards, was it a good trade off?

I don't have a good answer, but they are worthwhile questions.

Anonymous said...

You are still positing an either/or. I would be perfectly happy if the "gap" persisted, but was raised by 50 points for everybody in the public schools, but that's not what's going on. What we have is a persistent gap within a school district (bigger in some than in others), and which no amount of money thrown at the problem seems to alter. Now if we spent more on enrichment for the brightest and the gap got bigger, I would say that's problematic, but we don't. We spend more on the poorest, and the gap stays the same. The public school system-- many of them anyway, are failing, and no amount of money can fix a failing system until we recognize the fact of failure.

I still like my suggestion for educational improvement: Alter funding for all districts by 20% of their difference from the statewide mean. Mathematically, academic achievement should improve by roughly 5%.

J. Ewing

John said...

If money was the only factor, then maybe you would be correct. Unfortunately there are many many factors as we have documented before. G2A Contributing Factors

Latest UPDATE from Parents United.

Anonymous said...

OK, so there are many factors. It is also true that "the Devil has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all." In public ed, we seem to think that more money solves all of these problems, when any fool ought to know that to fix a problem you first find it, figure out how big it is and what can be done about it, and then move on to the next. Most of these solutions have nothing to do with money. Were that not true, money would predict a POSITIVE correlation with results, and instead it is negative.

J. Ewing

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I have to ask. The breathless excitement over a "woman of color" as DOE head: does that mean that this person is the most qualified possible person, and that something wonderful will happen just because a woman of color is in charge?

J. Ewing