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. 

    Lake comparable

    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.

STMA 2021 Legislative Platform

If you are having trouble viewing the document, you may download the document.

Bills We Are Watching

    • HF4 (Hassan) and SF64 (Wiger): Would allow districts to use student enrollment data from FY2020 or FY2021, whichever is larger, when calculating the revenue for this fiscal year. This is reflected in the last column of the FY2021 revised budget.
    • HF0455 (Lucero) and SF0426 (Kiffmeyer): Would create a new source of state aid for school districts such as STMA with low general education revenue and low property wealth.
    • Other Educational-Related Bills
    • HF843 (Stephenson): Would provide a 2% increase to the basic formula for the next two years and increase the basic formula by the inflation rate annually after that. Linking the formula to inflation provides predictable funding to stabilize staffing and programming and minimize cuts. See District revenue run for what this means to STMA. 
    • SF626 (Chamberlain): Increases equalization by $25 million to make voter-approved referendums more affordable for taxpayers in low- property wealth school districts such as STMA. See the District by district property tax relief run for what this means to STMA.
    • SF438 (Chamberlain): Would delay for two years any changes to academic standards. All state academic standards are on rotation for review and revisions every ten years. Over the next two years, school staff need to focus on their students to bounce back from their disrupted education. 

How to Take Action

  • “We in America do not have a government by the majority. We have a government by the majority who participate.”
     ~Thomas Jefferson
     
    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 Email

    governor walz email form   senator kiffmeyer email form   rep.eric.lucero@house.mn

     senate education finance and policy committee email list   house of representatives education policy committee email list   house of representatives education finance committee email list

    us congressman emmer email form  us senator klobuchar email form  us senator smith email form

     


    3. Make a Phone Call

    Governor Walz Phone   Senator Kiffmeyer Phone   Representative Lucero Phone

    senate chair   house policy chair   house finance chair

    us congressman emmer phone number  us senator klobuchar phone number  us senator smith phone number


    4. Stay Informed

    MSBA   SEE   

     

    Follow on social media:

      MSBA facebook   Brad's Blog   MSBA Twitter

    Post on your own 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

    Sample Letter:

    Dear Senator Kiffmeyer,

    Thank you for your support of students in the St. Michael-Albertville School District (STMA).

    The STMA District is facing significant short-term and long-term budget shortfalls, which are largely outside of the District’s control. These budget shortfalls will have an adverse impact on STMA students. We need your help now more than ever.

    Short-term budget shortfalls, largely due to the pandemic, include an enrollment loss of 323 students this school year. This significant decrease in student enrollment negatively impacts our budget by $2.5 million and is equivalent to 33 teachers. Our District had a healthy fund balance prior to the pandemic but not nearly enough to cover this devastating loss in revenue. Our District anticipates cuts of more than 50 teachers for next school year. This will considerably increase class sizes in our classrooms.

    Long-term budget shortfalls are due to a state funding system that is unfair and inequitable. 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. We are DEAD LAST. 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). Legislators want to hear personal stories. You could add how increased class sizes will affect your child(ren) or about missed opportunities such as fewer world language options (we offer two options at the HS--Spanish and Chinese and one trimester of Spanish in grade 8), fewer advanced classes, fewer art/music options, fewer elective options, etc. affect your child(ren).]

    In addition, please support the bills listed below as they would mean additional revenue for our district and relief for taxpayers.

    • HF4 (Hassan) and SF64 (Wiger): Would allow districts to use student enrollment data from FY2020 or FY2021, whichever is larger, when calculating the revenue for this fiscal year. This is reflected in the last column of the FY2021 revised budget and would mean approximately $1.1 million for STMA.
    • HF0455 (Lucero) and SF0426 (Kiffmeyer): Would create a new source of state aid for school districts such as STMA with low general education revenue and low property wealth.
    • HF843 (Stephenson): Would provide a 2% increase to the basic formula for the next two years and increase the basic formula by the inflation rate annually after that. Linking the formula to inflation provides predictable funding to stabilize staffing and programming and minimize cuts. This would mean almost $2.0 million over the next biennium for STMA. 
    • SF626 (Chamberlain): Increases equalization by $25 million to make voter-approved referendums more affordable for taxpayers in low- property wealth school districts such as STMA. This won’t yield extra revenue to STMA this year but if we had an operating levy it would bring relief to taxpayers.
    • SF438 (Chamberlain): Would delay for two years any changes to academic standards. All state academic standards are on rotation for review and revisions every ten years. Over the next two years, school staff need to focus on their students to bounce back from their disrupted education. 

    Thank you for your time and for advocating for STMA students.

    Respectfully,

    Your Name

    Postal Address (include so they know you are a constituent), email address, & possibly phone number


    Resources:


    Contacts:

    Senate Information Line   House Information Line