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DL to get $198,000 in added state funding

When the 2014 session of the Minnesota Legislature was concluded in May, school districts throughout the state learned that they were the beneficiaries of $54 million in new education funding.

For Detroit Lakes, a total of almost $198,000 in additional funding was appropriated for the 2014-15 school year.

“It’s a nice boost,” acknowledged Detroit Lakes School Superintendent Doug Froke. “We don’t typically receive any additional funding in the second year of the state’s biennial budget.”

This new funding is for increased student aid, early learning programs, nutritious breakfast and lunches, and other important measures. These new funds will benefit Detroit Lakes’ nearly 3,000 students, as well as the more than 840,000 students across Minnesota.

“These new investments are critical for our students to be successful,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “With smart investments in the things that matter, we will be able to tackle our achievement gaps more effectively, help more kids get a great start in their academic career, and better support every student on his or her path to high school graduation and beyond.”

The $198,000 “boost” for Detroit Lakes breaks down as follows: $85,700 in K-12 general education funding; $22,000 to the community education fund for “early learning initiatives, including $15,000 for Early Childhood Family Education and $7,000 for School Readiness; $15,600 to the food service fund to provide nutritious lunches; and $67,000, or $332 per teacher, to “help offset the cost of implementing the new teacher evaluation model passed by the 2013 Legislature,” Froke said.

Together with funds allocated to the district during the 2013 legislative session, this has given Detroit Lakes schools almost $2 million in new education funding over the past two years.

Froke also noted that 2014 education legislation has provided an opportunity for the Detroit Lakes Recovery School to receive up to $125,000 in additional grant funding, though the exact amount won’t be determined until the grant application process is completed.

Detroit Lakes has one of four such recovery schools in operation across the state, Froke added.

Other Becker County school districts were also the beneficiaries of additional education funding from the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions:

  • Frazee-Vergas received $68,000 in new funds from the 2014 session, for a total of over $636,000 over the biennium;
  • Lake Park-Audubon received nearly $48,000 in 2014, and nearly $429,000 over the biennium;
  • Waubun-Ogema-White Earth received nearly $50,000 in 2014, and a total of $576,000 in additional funds over the biennium.

Statewide, $660 million has been invested in education from early learning to grade 12 over the last two years.

In addition, the state paid back the $2.8 billion previously borrowed from schools, also known as the school shift.

“Over the last two years, we have paid back all the $2.8 billion previously borrowed from our schools, funded 9,000 early learning scholarships, provided access to free full-day kindergarten for every student, and significantly increased funding for every school district in Minnesota,” said Gov. Mark Dayton.

“These investments will greatly improve our nation-leading education system, and help provide our students the advantages and opportunities they need to succeed in school, life, and the jobs of tomorrow.”

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454