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Lower enrollment cuts Minnesota schools' state funding

ST. PAUL -- School enrollment keeps falling in Minnesota, and with it, schools will have to do with fewer dollars from the state.

Educators attribute the lower numbers of students to a tough housing market, an aging population and a lower birth rate. Statewide, 90 percent of school districts should see declining enrollment by next year, according to a 2006 analysis by the state House of Representatives.

That could put even more budget stress on Minnesota schools, already likely to face pressures from the state of Minnesota's huge budget defict next year. Gov. Tim Pawlenty and lawmakers are expected to cut revenue to Minnesota schools by about $22 million -- atop budget deficits facing many schools themselves.

"If there are fewer students, the schools get fewer dollars," said Tony Taschner, spokesman for the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district.