New special education funding formula surprises Minn. districts

Public school funding in Minnesota seems to be a vexing problem every year in Minnesota and 2019 is no exception. This year, many school districts are being caught by surprise because of a special education funding formula passed in 2016 that is just now going into effect.

“I was mad… it’s frustrating,” said Waconia School Superintendent Pat Devine.

Devine says his district needs to cut $1.26 million from its general fund budget to pay for special education services. This comes just over a year after Waconia voters approved a new operating levy of $525 per student to help pay its expenses. Now the district has to figure out how to pay special education “cross subsidies” from the general fund that have risen from $687 per student in 2015 to a projected $1,210 in 2019.


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