Schools for Equity in Education

Revenue Trends

  • State funding has not kept pace with rising costs, unfunded mandates, and growing expectations.
  • All school districts rely on school levies to make up for inadequate state funding.
  • Over 70% of districts have voter-approved operating levies.
  • The disparity in operating levies can range from $0 to over $2,500 per pupil, leaving many students without the educational opportunities they need and deserve.

Revenue Disparity Between the Lowest and Highest Funded Schools Districts

The gap in funding between school districts is growing and most of the growth is due to the disparities in operating levies ranging from $0 to $2,500 per pupil.

Significant Disparities in District’s Current School Levies

See each district’s operating levies (the school board-approved local optional revenue levy and any voter-approved referendum for all Minnesota school districts.  The taxpayer cost for the operating levies is also included.

Revenue Rankings by District 

Revenue per school district ranges from $22,300 to $10,100 per pupil. Two factors account for most of the disparity – state aid for school districts with challenging demographics and the inequality in local school levy revenue.

The Basic Funding Formula Has Not Kept Pace with Inflation

Basic formula revenue is meant to provide a quality education for all students. Minnesota spends $1,737 per pupil less on students today than it did for students in the early 1990s.

Where Do You Live?

State law allows school districts to access up to $2,118 per pupil in voter-approved referendum along with $724 in board-approved location optional revenue.  When the taxpayer cost is high, voters struggle to support this vital operating revenue, creating a disparity ranging between $724 to $2,842 per pupil.  

Minnesota’s National Ranking in School Funding

Residents living in the states at the top of the chart pay more of their income to support their public schools than those living in states at the bottom of the chart.

Understanding Minnesota’s Education Opportunity Gap

Unfunded mandates stretch school districts thin.

The financial challenges of unfunded mandates

School districts want to meet the needs of all their students. When mandated services are underfunded, districts rely on the basic formula and school levies to make up for inadequate state funding.

  • The Unfunded Cost of Special Education Services by District
  • The Unfunded Cost for English Learning Services by District