School funding lags behind inflation

/ 17 December 2012 / eunice

Kremena Spengler, New Ulm Journal, December 17, 2012 – Per-pupil revenue in Minnesota for the fiscal year 2013-14 is projected to be $401 below the 2004-05 inflation-adjusted amount, according to a tax information presented by District 88 Business Manager Myrna Meunier last week.

Conversely, most districts’ expenses will likely increase without budget cuts, by at least 2-3 percent annually, according to the report.

If adjusted for inflation, next year’s state basic (formula-determined) school funding of $5,224 per pupil would be $5,625, according to the report.

School funding has consistently lagged behind inflation (as measured by the consumer price index) since 2007-08, showed the report.

The year taken as base was 2004-05.

With minimum or no increases in state funding expected, many districts are facing projected budget shortfalls for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, and anticipate the need for budget cuts, Meunier said.

To address local school budget shortfalls, 297, or 88 percent, of Minnesota districts have approved an operating referendum levy. The state average amount is $899 per pupil.

Meunier also presented mandated information on revenues and expenditures for 2012-13:

District 88 operating revenues are expected to amount to $19.6 million this fiscal year, down from $20 million in 2011-2012, she said.

Operating revenues amount to 86 percent of all revenues. Other major revenue categories include: debt service, 7 percent; food service, 4 percent; and community service (commonly, community education), 3 percent.

In 2012-13, state aid is projected to make up $15.4 million, or 79 percent, of District 88’s operating revenues. Local taxes will amount to $3 million, or 16 percent; local fees and other sources, about $600,000, or 3 percent; and federal revenues, about $400,000, or 2 percent.

Approximately 78 percent of all 2012-13 operating expenditures in District 88 are for instruction or instructional support, according to Meunier’s report. More specifically, of these expenditures, regular instruction accounts for 43 percent; special education, 19 percent; pupil support services (counselors, nurse, etc.), 10 percent; instructional support (staff development and curriculum development), 5 percent; and vocational instruction, 1 percent.

The balance of operating expenditures includes: sites and buildings, 12 percent; administration, 6 percent; district support services, 2 percent; and fiscal and other fixed costs, 1 percent.

Approximately 72 percent of operating expenditures in 2012-13 will go toward salaries and benefits. Salaries amount to 50 percent of operating expenditures, and benefits to 22 percent.

Other operating expenditure categories include: purchased services, 22 percent; supplies and materials, 3 percent; and capital expenditures, 3 percent.

All numbers were rounded.–lags-behind-inflation.html?nav=5009