STMA Legislative Action
STMA is ranked 330 out of 330 in per-pupil revenue among school districts in MN. DEAD LAST.
Article XIII of the MN Constitution clearly states "it is the duty of the legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools." Yet, STMA receives $8,073 per pupil unit compared to the state average of $9,499 --- that is $1,426 [15%] LESS per pupil. That means FEWER opportunities for our students --- less art, fewer advanced classes, less music, fewer world languages, etc. That is not uniform nor is it fair.
STMA has worked hard to increase student achievement and offer exceptional educational opportunities to help students develop their full potential and build character. In order for us to maintain this investment in our students, we need to find a way of funding public schools that create greater equity for all students regardless of their zip code. ALL students deserve support and opportunities for students should not be determined by where their parents choose to live.
Why School Funding Matters to You and YOUR Child
In FY2020, STMA joined the Lake Conference. While we are similar to districts in the Lake Conference in academics, arts, activities, and athletics, in funding we are very different.
Yes, folks, the Hopkins School District receives $4,592 more per pupil than STMA! That’s a difference of over $29 million per year!
Our state's current policy for funding public education is grossly inequitable, irrational, and inexplicable.
- STMA ranks 330 --- DEAD LAST --- in general education per-pupil revenue among 330 Minnesota public school districts. To learn more click here.
- Our students receive $9,078 per pupil in general education state aid while students from Burnsville receive $14,358 and students in Richfield receive $13,945. This means fewer opportunities for our students --- less art, less music, fewer advanced classes, fewer world languages, etc.
- Inadequate state funding has created large disparities for taxpayers. STMA taxpayers pay more than their counterparts in nearby school districts. For example, for a $2,504 per pupil levy STMA taxpayers would pay $1,552/year while taxpayers in neighboring Hopkins would pay $365/year. That's a difference of $1,187! To learn more click here.
- The State of MN does not fully fund special education despite a plethora of mandates. For example, in FY2020 STMA diverted $4.5 million or $677 per pupil of funding meant for regular education classroom instruction to cover mandated but unreimbursed special education programming. The $4.5 million that STMA must divert from its general fund to pay for special education mandates substantially limits opportunities for all STMA students. To learn more click here.
- 87.0% of STMA general revenue is from state aid. However, data shows that the basic state aid formula has eroded significantly since 1991 as funding has not kept up with inflation. STMA would receive $1,185 per pupil if inflation were factored in. To learn more click here.
- Watch this video to learn more about school funding at STMA.
- Watch this video to learn more and see how you can help to ensure that all Minnesota students have the same educational opportunities.
How to Take Action
“We in America do not have a government by the majority. We have a government by the majority who participate.”
YOUR voice MATTERS! Please take the time to have your voice heard regarding these very important issues. Thanks, in advance, for your advocacy and support of STMA Schools!
According to the Congressional Management Foundation, if a legislator has not already arrived at a firm decision on an issue, YOU can influence his/her decision by using advocacy strategies. See below for advocacy strategies and the percentage of influence.
- In-Person Visit---94%
- Email w/ Personalized Message Describing Impact---92%
- Letter w/ Personalized Message Describing Impact ---88%
- Phone Call---84%
- Form Email---56%
- Form Letter---50%
Ways to Advocate for STMA Students and Schools:
1. Schedule an In-Person Visit
2. Send an E-Mail
Minnesota State Senate Education E-12 Finance and Policy Committee
Carla J Nelson, Chair
Minnesota House of Representatives Education Finance Committee
Rep. Jim Davnie, Chair
Minnesota House of Representatives Education Policy Committee
Rep. Cheryl Youakim, Chair
3. Make a Phone Call
Governor Walz's Office: 651-201-3400
Senator Kiffmeyer: 651-296-5655
Representative Lucero: 651-296-1534
4. Stay Informed
Visit Web Sites: MN Schools Boards Association (MSBA) or Schools for Equity in Education (SEE)
Follow on Social Media: Twitter (MNMSBA), Facebook (MSBA), Brad’s Blog
Post on Social Media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter)
5. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Keep these tips in mind when making an in-person visit, sending an e-mail, or sending a letter.
- Start by thanking them for their support and work in advocating for STMA children.
- Think about how to deliver a concise and clear message that is brief (think 5-7 minutes maximum)
- Be clear on goals (why are you visiting/writing/e-mailing?)
- Know your issue (what is your concern?)
- Clearly state “the ask” (what do you want?)
- Connect the issue to STMA (how does it affect YOUR child, community, grandchild, etc.); They do not want a form letter; it is critical to tell YOUR story and how it affects YOUR child(ren)
- Follow-up ASAP
An example of a written letter/email message is below.
Dear Senator Kiffmeyer,
Thank you for your support of students in the St. Michael-Albertville School District.
Please support bill [name] [list bill number if known (i.e. SF936)]. Describe how the bill would impact STMA Schools. For example, you may say…STMA receives significantly less funding than other school districts in Minnesota. We currently rank 330 out of 330 Minnesota School Districts in general education per pupil revenue. In fact, STMA students receive $9,078 per pupil in state aid while students from Burnsville receive $14,358 and students in Richfield receive $13,945. Children should not be penalized for choosing to live in the STMA community. Please help STMA students by fixing this disparity.
Insert concise, personal story about how this issue impacts YOU and YOUR child(ren). You can talk about missed opportunities such as fewer world language options, fewer advanced classes, fewer art/music options, fewer elective options, etc.
Thank you for your time and for advocating for STMA students.
Postal Address (include so they know you are a constituent), email address, & possibly phone number
- Where Do You Live?
- Schools for Equity in Education (SEE)
- Video -- Minnesota's Educational Opportunity Gap -- Where do you live?
- Legislation and Bill Status Resource
- Who Represents Me?
- Governor's Website
- Senate Information Line: 651-296-0504
- House Information Line: 651-296-2146