TITLE: An Exploratory Analysis of the Equity in Minnesota's School Funding Model and How it May Affect or Contribute to Minnesota's Continuing Academic Achievement Gap
In 2001, the Minnesota Legislature in partnership with then Governor Ventura ended the Uniform General Education Levy. Fifteen years have passed since this finance reform, but little research has been conducted on the specific effects of this change on equity of funding between urban and suburban schools or among districts serving non-White student populations. The purpose of this study was to analyze the change this legislation had and more specifically the effects on urban and more diverse districts. Qualitative interviews were conducted with school administrators and government officers and quantitative analysis was done on historical funding data. It was hypothesized that urban districts have been asked to do more with less compared to their suburban counterparts; school districts are increasingly pressed to pass levies and referendums to receive more monies; and that diversity equity in education has decreased since this change in education funding. Findings will be useful in understanding the issues and challenges of diversity equity in education funding and potential recommendations for remedies to Minnesota’s education finance method. The research question studied in this thesis is: In Minnesota, how has the 2001 education finance reform of localized education funding at a state level affected education funding throughout the State and individual districts’ ability to provide equitable education, with specific focus on urban and diverse districts?
THESIS DEFENDED AND APPROVED: Fall 2018