Shutdown has little effect on Minnesota schools…for now

/ 2 October 2013 / eunice

Kim McGuire, Star Tribune, October 2, 2013  – During a conference call with reporters Tuesday to discuss new school rankings, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius took some time to briefly address the impact of the federal government shutdown on Minnesota schools.

The bottom line was this: For now, most schools aren’t feeling a direct impact but that could change if the shutdown is a protracted one.

Cassellius mentioned that department officials are closely monitoring the status of federally funded school lunch programs. Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have said most of those programs are funded through October.

Similarly, there is no anticipated delay in the disbursement of federal poverty aid to schools and special education dollars at least through this month.

It’s unclear what happens after that point.

Both the Race to the Top and Promise Neighborhoods – two federal competitive grants that help support some Minnesota schools – are funded through the end of December. So no imminent impact there, either.

Just like other state education agencies, the Minnesota Department of Education is in frequent contact with their federal countertops and the shutdown will likely hamper communication.

In fact, Cassellius said she expected the shutdown to delay the state’s application to renew its waiver from No Child Left Behind, the federal education law.

“We hope Congress can work together on behalf of kids,” she said.