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How We Are Funded

Revenue Sources

80% of PLSAS funds originate from the State, primarily for general education expenses like teacher salaries and classroom supplies. 17% is sourced from local property taxes and voter-approved referendums, while 3% comes from federal funding. 

Approximately half of the state funds are categorical, meaning they are earmarked for specific purposes such as Special Education, school meals or building maintenance. These funds cannot be diverted for other uses. This money can only be used for the specific purposes it's been assigned to and not for anything else.

It's the job of the school district's administration and School Board to manage resources effectively to support educational needs.

How is revenue determined?

The state provides funding on a per-student basis. This means that funding is allocated to school districts based on the number of students they enroll.

Enrollment Increases: What is the impact?

Increased enrollment means additional revenue for schools, contributing to the overall financial health of a district. It also can lead to expanding academic programs, additional staffing and resources for classrooms and more overall opportunities for students.

Enrollment Decreases: What is the impact?

Because school funding is tied to student enrollment numbers, a decrease in student enrollment means a reduction in the amount of funding school districts receive from the state. This can lead to budget cuts that critically impact the district including staffing, programs and classroom resources.

What is PLSAS’ Student Enrollment?

Our enrollment has been on a slight decline since 2020, largely due to low birth rates, and it is not expected to increase in the next five years, mostly due to low birth rates.

Historic Funding Shortfalls

A funding gap persists due to historical shortfalls. If state funding had kept pace with inflation since 2003, we would have received $9+ million more last year alone.

Last year, the MN Legislature allocated substantial funding for schools. Along with the additional funding, the legislature approved mandates that directed how much of the funding is spent. While the new funding is appreciated, we still have to find ways to cover some current and historical mandates that are underfunded or even unfunded by the state.

Educational Costs Per Student Vary Based On Learning Needs

Educational costs per student vary depending on individual learning needs. For example, Special Education students may have hearing or visual impairments, physical disabilities, behavioral disorders or learning disabilities, necessitating additional personnel and specialized equipment, which can be costly. Unfortunately, Special Education costs are not fully funded from the state, leaving the burden on school districts to cover them using general education funds. 

In PLSAS, a recent increase in Special Education referrals necessitate more staff to adequately support student needs while ensuring compliance with state requirements. To be clear, we are committed to providing excellent service to our Special Education students. At the same time, we must look for ways to fund this program that is not fully funded at the federal or state level.