Commissioners: education bill a must

While DFL Gov. Mark Dayton feuds with legislative leaders over education funding, two of his commissioners are warning about the potential consequences of the disagreement.

Dayton is threatening to veto a bill that doesn’t meet his funding expectations.

House and Senate leaders plan to send him the bill anyway. They’ve said if there’s no bill, schools would continue to get funding at current levels, but not an increase.

State officials see a more complex impact.

“The consequences of not enacting an E-12 education budget bill would be catastrophic for or schools, our teachers and most importantly, our students,” wrote Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans.

Their memo, released Saturday, said that the lack of a new funding bill would result in a shutdown of the Department of Education and the layoff of 400 employees. There would be no one to process payments to schools. The Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind and the Perpich Center for the Arts would shut down.

In addition, the commissioners said the lack of a funding increase will force school districts to cut budgets and lay off teachers.