Like most Minnesota school districts, E. Carver Co. Schools is facing increasing pressure on the district’s operating budget. The district relies on state and local funding to operate its schools – to pay staff, buy classroom materials, fund academic programs, and more. For the past 15 years, state funding has not kept pace with inflation. This has resulted in a nearly $620 per student gap this year, totaling more than $6 million in lost funding this year alone and more than $60 million over the last 10 years. Expenses are outpacing revenue and the district is not fully reimbursed for the important special education services we provide.
This is the time of year when the district reviews its academic program and staffing needs. It is also waiting to learn what funding the district will receive from the State of Minnesota. The legislature’s decision on public funding will help the district know how big of a budget gap we need to fill moving forward.
One way to fill this funding gap is by asking voters to approve an increase in the district’s operating levy. This spring, the School Board will go through the process to decide what financial support it may ask of residents in a November 2019 referendum.
The charts below show Eastern Carver County Schools’ per student funding compared to similar districts in the metro area, and how the gap in state funding on a per student basis.