State IOUs to schools nag at Minn. lawmakers

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota lawmakers discussing state IOUs to public schools are hearing from education groups that the catch-up payments shouldn’t be the priority.

The House Education Finance Committee reviewed legislation Tuesday to undo school payment delays enacted to get the state through past budget shortfalls. Schools are owed about $1.1 billion.

Leaders of groups that lobby for some school districts, teachers and administrators argued that lawmakers should focus instead on increasing the state’s overall contribution to schools. They say that using spare dollars to repay the past debt will hamper the ability of lawmakers to bump up aid for schools going forward. Many districts used reserves to compensate for the prior accounting shifts, which are due to be unwound as state economic conditions improve.

None of the bills were voted on Tuesday.

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