Funding impasse has schools preparing for possible crisis



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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton's veto of an education funding bill means that administrators around the state have to plan for a possible crisis starting July 1.

Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1FElQkb ) reports that the impasse over education funding at the Capitol has no effect on districts now, as schools are fully funded through June 30. But if lawmakers cannot agree on an education bill by July 1, the state Department of Education would shut down, causing serious budget problems for the state's schools.

State administrators say they are planning in the event of a funding cutoff. State Management and Budget commissioner Myron Frans said his office would need to seek a court order to continue payments to schools, but those payments would be based on an old funding formula.

Many schools would remain open, but Perpich Center for Arts Education executive director Sue Mackert says schools may need to send out more layoff notices than they normally do. At Perpich, Mackert said that would mean the layoffs of 130 full- and part-time staff.

"Without a bill, and no contingency plans, then all activities cease," said Sue Mackert, the school's executive director. "And that means the layoff of all employees and the termination of all of our programs."

Even though they're planning for the worst, some school officials are optimistic lawmakers will settle their differences over education funding.

"I don't think it necessarily has to take a long time," said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. "Most of the policy work is done. We really need to address the funding. Minnesota needs to invest in its future."

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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The Associated Press

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