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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dean Urdahl (R)

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Urdahl bill to assist small school districts advances

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
ST. PAUL – Legislation Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, has authored to increase funding for small schools in Minnesota by $29 million cleared its first House committee stop Wednesday.
Urdahl’s bill (H.F. 1024) raises the enrollment threshold for small-school funding eligibility from 960 adjusted pupil units to 1,500 and increases the basic revenue formula allowance for small schools by 10 percent to better assist districts with fewer students.
“Our smaller schools, particularly those in Greater Minnesota, incur larger costs per pupil,” Urdahl said. “This bill would help mitigate those disparities by providing a larger number of smaller schools the additional funding they need to offer more programs and services to help our children further their education.”
Information provided by nonpartisan House staff indicates 144,000 students in 213 districts would benefit under Urdahl’s bill. That includes a total of 66,000 students in 57 districts that currently do not receive any small-schools allocations but would through Urdahl’s proposal. Those figures do not include charter schools.
The House Education Finance Committee heard the bill and set it aside for potential inclusion in an education package later this session. Urdahl’s bill has received bipartisan support with several House Democrats among the nearly 30 co-authors. Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, D-Cook, is carrying the companion bill (S.F. 87).