Friday, October 13, 2006

Education Minnesota endorsees should ask: how much?

When you buy a car, do you ask the seller, how much?

When you buy a house, do you ask the seller, how much?

When you buy a stadium, do you ask the seller, how much?

When you ask for the Education Minnesota teachers union's endorsement, do you ask, how much?

In their 2006 candidate questionnaire, Education Minnesota made clear their policy and funding goals over the next biennium. By pricing these big ticket items, it is immediately apparent that it would be impossible to fund these proposals without raising corporate and individual income taxes, and property taxes.

How much? Here's how much on a few of the items in the teachers union's shopping cart:

  • Guarantee adequate funding for school districts that keeps pace with inflation - If all K-12 programs and early education/community education programs were increased by these rates of inflation the total for the biennium would be about $410 million. (Source: Minnesota House of Representatives Research)

  • Guarantee that special education is a fully funded program - If the state funded the cross-subsidy gap with state aid, the latest annual estimate of the adjusted net cross subsidy is $377 million per year, or approximately $754 million over the next biennium. (Source: Minnesota Department of Education)

  • Significantly reduce class sizes - In order to significantly reduce class sizes at several grade levels, the additional cost of approximately 2,000 teachers would be about $200 million over the next biennium. (Source: House Research)
Adequate funding for education is a top priority for both parties, and is constitutionally mandated. But how much would Education Minnesota's Full Meal Deal cost taxpayers in new funding? Stay tuned.

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