School Transportation Bill Could Help Struggling School Districts
It’s a service that is relied on across the state, transportation to and from school. But for years some school districts in Greater Minnesota have been battling a continual deficit when it comes to funding for transportation.
The current funding formula goes off the number of students attending a school, not how many of those students use school transportation services. Because the current formula, last year the Bemidji School District ran a deficit over $755,ooo, compared to the St. Paul School District who made over six million dollars in busing students.
This map illustrates in gold the size the 825 square mile Bemidji School District compared to the entire Twin Cities Metro. With a school district as big as Bemidji, it can be extremely expensive when it comes to transportation. That is why there is a bipartisan effort at the capitol to correct the formula so that it is fare to all school districts across the state.
At the state capitol lobbying continues, as legislators work to correct the formula that has been in place since 1995. Currently a bill in the senate is working with school districts in Forest Lake and Bemidji that would relate the formula to the cost of services being provided. This gave Bemidji residents talking points during their annual visit at the capitol last week.
The yearly transportation deficit has had a major impact on area schools. For Bemidji, its taking money out of classrooms and much needed tools for students.
While the issue has been close to being resolved in recent years, the hope is that this years legislative session will be the one, that brings, fairness in funding back home.
A bill to restructure the transportation funding formula is currently in the state senate. According to legislators, Senate File 1026 has bipartisan support and is expected to get a floor vote.