School districts are coming together creating their 2023 legislative platforms for the upcoming session in Minnesota legislature

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Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 6:41 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Governor Walz’ budget will include a more than $700 million general funding boost for public schools over the next two years. For area school districts, this means different things.

“You know, here in St. Peter, we do have a slightly declining enrollment right now and for the past three years, we’ve benefited from Covid funding which has really carried us over and we haven’t had to make reductions. If we don’t see an increase in our revenues in the general fund, we will be making some reductions going into next year,” said Bill Gronseth, St. Peter Public Schools superintendent.

Both St. Peter and Mankato Area Public Schools hope to refill their general education fund. At the moment, a percentage of that fund the goes to fill a funding gap in special education. MAPS spends over $7 million a year addressing it.

“If that comes through, what it allows us to do is to take the dollars that we have had to reallocate to special education and use those general fund dollars on more general operations, the non-special education programs and services that we provide in the district,” explained Paul Peterson, superintendent of MAPS.

“We used up some of our fund balances and reserves. You know for whatever program it’ll help to. Get us back to square one that we’re not using a fund, balances, or a reserves each year like we did last year and we’re doing this year also,” said Tim Regner, business manager for St. Peter Public Schools.

Filling up general education funds is only part of what Superintendents hope the package will cover.

“We also see the same inflation that every other business and household in the state sees and so it is costing us more to do less. So if we don’t have that extra funding we will have to make reductions,” said Gronseth.