Senate considers alternative ways to fund school repair needs
Senator Kevin Dahle (DFL-Northfield) presented legislation today that focuses financing needed school facilities. The legislation is the result of recommendations provided by a working group that met over the interim to focus on reforming the financing of E-12 education facilities to create “adequate, equitable, and sustainable financing of public school facilities throughout the state.”
“We are hoping to find a plan that gives every district the ability to keep up with repairs and space issues,” said Sen. Dahle. “The ability to keep up with financial demands varies from district to district. The goal of this legislation is to provide safe and adequate classrooms, no matter what school district they are in.”
Sen. Dahle’s legislation, which has received early bipartisan support, begins the process of the recommended an eight-proposal, three-year phase-in plan provided by the working group. In this first step, $50 million would be used for districts not included in the Alternative Facilities bonding program (currently, only 24 school districts qualify). The funding would be used for deferred maintenance, security and accessibility improvements, or to make fire, safety or other repairs.
“We are simply hoping to take care of the basic but essential needs of our school districts,” said Sen. Dahle. “There is a lot of work to be done on this issue, but this bill gets the ball rolling. I will continue to work with school district leaders, the Department of Education and any constituents interested in the issue as it makes it way through the political process.”
The legislation was held over by the E-12 Finance Committee and will be considered when drifting the committee’s final omnibus finance bill. For more information on today’s legislation or the senator’s school facilities bill, Sen. Dahle’s office can be contacted via phone at (651) 296-1279 or by email at email@example.com.