Education Funding

Financial Solutions

March 01, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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.


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


Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Proven Strategies to Improve Reading Scores
In this webinar, education and reading expert Stacy Hurst will provide a look at some of the biggest issues facing curriculum coordinators, administrators, and teachers working in reading education today. You will: Learn how schools
Content provided by Reading Horizons

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding More Federal Aid Is Coming for Schools Struggling to Buy Food Due to Supply-Chain Crisis
The $1.5 billion USDA infusion is the second in several months to help schools purchase food amid shortages and price increases.
2 min read
Stacked Red Cafeteria trays in a nearly empty lunch room.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Education Funding School Districts Are Starting to Spend COVID Relief Funds. The Hard Part Is Deciding How
A new database shows districts' spending priorities for more than $122 billion in federal aid are all over the place.
8 min read
Educators delivering money.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Education Funding The Political Spotlight on Schools' COVID Relief Money Isn't Going Away
Politicians and researchers are among those scrutinizing the use and oversight of billions in pandemic education aid.
7 min read
Business man with brief case looking under a giant size bill (money).
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Education Funding Here's How Schools Can Use Federal COVID Aid to Solve Bus Driver and Other Transportation Woes
The Education Department outlines districts' options for using relief money to solve nationwide problems in getting kids to and from school.
2 min read
Students catch their bus near Ambridge Area Senior High School on the first day of Pennsylvania's mask mandate for K-12 schools and day care centers on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, in Ambridge, Pa.
Students catch their bus near Ambridge Area Senior High School in Ambridge, Pa., earlier this year on the first day of Pennsylvania's mask mandate for K-12 schools.
Andrew Rush/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP