A revenue breakdown provided to Monticello school board members Oct. 5 shows that the district currently ranks 299 out of 320 school districts in Minnesota in total funding per student.
According to figures given by Schools for Equity in Education (SEE), Monticello receives $9,998 per student across all revenue streams, compared to the state average of $12,143 per student.
Broken down further, the district comes in at $900 below the state average in general education funding. The district received for the 2020-2021 fiscal year $8,500 per student in general ed. dollars, compared to the state average of $9,400.
That differential widens when it comes to special education funding. Monticello is set to receive just $620 for each student in special ed., which is $1,200 below the Minnesota average of $1,820.
The district also receives far less per student in compensatory funding, which is based on a district’s proportion of students on free or reduced lunches. Monticello will this year receive $133 per student in compensatory funding, compared to the average $565.
“It’s not bad being below the state average if you can do everything you want to do with the resources that you’re given,” said SEE executive director Brad Lundell. Monticello is one of 58 member districts in SEE.
“Monticello, like so many SEE districts — districts that rely heavily on the general education formula — do not get much in terms of categorical revenue,” Lundell added.
That minimal funding from the state is compounded by what often times is lower property values in SEE districts, contributing these districts receiving “well below the state average in funding.”
Monticello Schools is up for a $6.04 million operating referendum Nov. 3 after school board members unanimously approved the ballot question in August. If approved by voters, that levy increase would provide an additional $1,299 per student and bring total revenue per student to $11,297, placing Monticello at number 175 for total school district funding in Minnesota.
The real goal is “to get the system funded to the level where districts can do everything that they need to do to prepare students, [and] give students that wide range of opportunities that they really do need to succeed in an increasingly complex world.”
Aligning with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)’s decision Oct. 2 to make public certain school-level data around COVID-19, Monticello Schools has added a cases dashboard to its district website. It can be found at: https://www.monticello.k12.mn.us/domain/590
Monticello has had one confirmed case of COVID-19 among staff since the district began tracking with the start of school on Sept. 8. Five lab-confirmed cases among students had also been reported since Sept. 8, including one such case within the week of Oct. 1-8, according to information last updated Oct. 8.
MDH has indicated that only those individual school buildings (not districts as a whole) with five or more confirmed cases within a two-week period would be posted to its website. These school buildings would be removed from MDH’s listing after 28 days with no new lab-confirmed cases.
“These case counts do not necessarily mean the people got COVID-19 from being at school. It also does not mean that these cases resulted in transmission or other people getting COVID-19 at school,” reads part of the FAQ on MDH’s website, clarifying that the case counts mean only that “they had COVID-19 and were infectious while in a school building.”