Members of the Brainerd School Board Legislative Committee heard from the executive director of Schools for Equity in Education (SEE), Brad Lundell, about ways that SEE can help districts like Brainerds.
SEE, a program that advocates for equality in funding and opportunities for students and districts across the state of Minnesota, focuses on two main areas including home value of a district and property tax equity issue.
During a power point presentation, Lundell said that the state’s basic formula for per student dollar amount has not kept up with inflation, with a gap of more than $2,200 per student between dollar amount in inflation and what it currently is.
“That gap per student is how much less we have to spend on today’s students compared with the children in our schools in the early 1990s,” said Lundell.
In relation to Brainerd, Lundell gave the following example:
“Let’s look at it this way,” said Lundell, “first with the cost to the local voting taxpayer for a $1,633 per pupil referendum per $100,000 of home value per year.
“If you are a taxpayer in Hopkins, according to this example, you would pay $153. In Brainerd, you would pay $319.”
In a SEE video, it addressed schools in a large city or well developed business areas and schools in rural areas. According to SEE, rural area schools are paying more tax dollars and in turn typically see larger class sizes and are understaffed. Those in the city districts pay less and tend to get a better education.
Lundell said the biggest way to see changes is during the 2013 legislative session, where the state budget for the next two years will be set, including K12 funding.
Superintendent Steve Razidlo said the board recently made a decision to continue the relationship with SEE and hopes to start to extend the program’s missions to a larger community audience.