Survey outlines effects of Pawlenty's shifts on Minn. schools

A survey of more than 30 metro-area schools districts outlines the costs they'll incur as a result of the governor's payment shifts this summer.

State aid for schools was not cut this year - but Gov. Pawlenty shifted more money than usual into next fiscal year.

That means districts - like Anoka-Hennepin, Hopkins, and Spring Lake Park - will need short-term loans to cover cash crunches. Ten districts in the survey will pay nearly $1.3 million in interest.

Most districts that don't have to borrow will instead dip into savings, meaning they won't earn interest they otherwise would have. The survey lists 16 such districts that will lose a combined $2.5 million.

"Sometimes we get accused of 'Chicken Little' - the sky is falling and education groups are just saying this will happen and it's really not," Scott Croonquist, with the Association of Metro School Districts, which surveyed the districts, said. "So we thought it was important to confirm that, in fact, school districts are sharing in the pain - in terms of solving the budget shortfall."

Croonquist also said the numbers are only for the current budget year, and the second year of Minnesota's biennial budget could be even worse for schools.

The survey is larger but draws similar conclusions to an MPR survey conducted this summer. This new study also confirms earlier estimates that 800 metro-area teachers and staff would lose their jobs.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.