Education Funding

Financial Solutions

March 01, 2005 1 min read

Like their colleagues in many other states, Minnesota legislators are debating how much state money to spend on schools.

But this year, Minnesotans have a greater say in the school funding battles at the Capitol in St. Paul.

johnsond03022005

Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson and Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, both members of the state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, asked the public to send in their own ideas to help raise money for public schools. The lawmakers made their requests through news outlets across the state and by e-mail messages to groups for school administrators, teachers, and other education professionals.

The volume of responses was much bigger than expected.

Sen. Johnson’s office received more than 1,200 responses from Minnesotans, who had plenty of ideas about raising money for schools. Those ideas ranged from the practical to the just plain kooky.

“It got a little overwhelming,” said John Kavanagh, the leadership assistant to Mr. Johnson. “It had a life of its own.”

Some highlights: One person suggested burning soybeans, a cash crop, as fuel to provide heat in public schools. Another suggested covering the outside of schools with foamy insulation out of a spray can as a way to lower energy bills.

Other ideas pertained to the ongoing political debate over school finance, and what the public schools might look like in the future. Some angry responses argued that schools are not receiving adequate funding and that teacher salaries are too low. Others said that pay for teachers—and especially for school administrators—seemed high. Yet another endorsed imposing a co-payment or user’s fee on parents with children in school.

A few argued for school district mergers as a way to save money, while others said preserving community schools and smaller campuses would be best.

After local news reports about the level of response to the legislators’ request, Sen. Johnson’s office received another 200 ideas, Mr. Kavanagh said.

When some people read about the idea of installing McDonald’s restaurants or other fast-food eateries on campuses as a way of raising money, others wrote to the senator to protest the idea and demanded that students have healthy places to eat.

Mr. Kavanagh said lawmakers may consider some of the ideas. Well, maybe not the spray-on insulation.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 02, 2005 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

2021-2022 Teacher (Districtwide)
Dallas, TX, US
Dallas Independent School District
[2021-2022] Founding Middle School Academic Dean
New York, NY, US
DREAM Charter School
DevOps Engineer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association
Senior Business Analyst - 12 Month Contract
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association

Read Next

Education Funding Nearly Half of School Finance Officials Report 'Sufficient' Federal COVID-19 Aid, For Now
A survey of local K-12 administrators also found "addressing learning loss" and ed-tech to be primary uses of relief dollars.
5 min read
Illustration of a helping hand with dollar bill bridging economy gap during coronavirus pandemic, assisting business people to overcome financial difficulties.
Feodora Chiosea/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Education Funding Return of Pet Projects in Congress Could Mean More Money for Schools to Address COVID-19
"Community funding projects," also known as earmarks, could support district and nonprofit K-12 projects.
3 min read
In this Jan. 4, 2020 photo, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. On Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, DeLauro was elected chair of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee by fellow Democrats, a position colleagues say will make her the most powerful politician from Connecticut in Washington in generations.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington last year. On Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, DeLauro revealed a proposal to restore the practice of earmarks after a decade-long ban in Congress.
Al Drago/Pool Photo via AP
Education Funding Concern About Unspent COVID-19 School Aid Continues as Congress Moves Toward More Relief
A congressional analysis has spurred discontent about how fast money will be spent, but some warn against over-simplifying the situation.
5 min read
Thermometers, gloves, and cleaning swabs sit on a table at the entrance to the Frederickson KinderCare daycare center, in Tacoma, Wash on May 27, 2020.
Thermometers, gloves, and cleaning swabs sit on a table at the entrance to the Frederickson KinderCare daycare center, in Tacoma, Wash on May 27, 2020. As a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, workers and children have their temperatures checked every day before they enter the building.
Ted S. Warren/AP
Education Funding Opinion What's It Take for Philanthropy to Help Rural Schools?
Place-based philanthropy has enormous potential to revitalize rural communities. The trick is, it’s tough to get this sort of approach right.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty