Why $2 billion in new school funding is leaving Minnesota districts scrambling for cash

When the Democratic “trifecta” in control of Minnesota’s House, Senate and governor’s office announced last spring’s K-12 education finance bill, there weren’t enough superlatives in the thesaurus to fuel the sound bites. The more than $2.2 billion in “new” spending on public schools was “historic.” The number of initiatives funded was “sweeping,” the predicted outcomes for students and teachers “life-changing.”

Now, district leaders statewide are scrambling to explain to their communities that, in fact, they are facing massive cuts. In many places, balancing the budget will mean layoffs or school closures.

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