A few examples will put the special education deficits of school districts in context. These examples show that unless the State acts next year to provide substantial relief to school districts, school districts that run a deficit this year will be forced to make huge cuts, and that solving the special education deficit would allow school districts to avoid those cuts, provided that districts use that money to balance their budgets responsibly.
- Stillwater. After implementing a series of major reductions over the past several years, the Stillwater school district is drawing from its unassigned fund balance by $5 million to keep from making further cuts. That represents an operating deficit of approximately 6 percent in 2013 on an $81 million budget. Stillwater's adjusted net special education funding deficit is approximately $6.2 million as of 2011. That means that if the State had fully funded Stillwater's $14 million special education budget last year, Stillwater could have balanced its budget this year, with room to spare.
- Lakeville. After implementing major spending cuts, Lakeville school district felt that it could not justify further cuts, and so adopted a budget that runs a $1.4 million dollar deficit. Lakeville has a $9.4 million special education deficit. If the state had fully funded Lakeville's special education programs, Lakeville could roll back some of the prior year's cuts, and balance its budget with room to spare.
- White Bear Lake. White Bear Lake has an $8 million unassigned fund balance for a $78 million general fund budget. It had budgeted a $4 million deficit in 2011-2012. But, White Bear Lake has an $8.2 million special education deficit. If the State fully funded WBL's special education program, WBL could have balanced its budget with $4 million to spare.
- Osseo. Osseo shows a budget with $198 million in revenues. Its budget projects an $8 million deficit, even though it made $2,032,463 of staffing reductions to align with enrollment and the $1 million reduction in programs and services. But Osseo had a $9 million special education deficit, or about $900 per student. If the State had fully funded Osseo's special education budget, Osseo could have balanced its budget and eliminated its program reductions.
- Roseville. Roseville had a June 30, 2012 unassigned fund balance of $4.4 million (bolstered by $2 million in unexpected special education revenues ) with general fund revenues of about $66-69 million. Rosevill's budget overspends its revenues by about $3 million next year, lowering its fund balance to $1.4 million. Roseville runs an annual special education deficit of about $6.6 million. If the State fully funded Roseville's special education budget, Roseville could have balanced its budget with $3 million to spare.