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Garofalo wants to cut integration aid

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, is pictured with Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing.

Minnesota Rep. Pat Garofalo, who represents Farmington, has proposed eliminating state funding meant to promote school desegregation.

Garofalo said some of the $132 million in "integration" aid allocated for the current budget period is being spent frivolously. Those integration dollars could be better used to increase general education funding, boost school lunch reimbursement or to help balance a state budget deficit, Garofalo said Tuesday.

Rep. Mindy Greiling of Roseville, the top House Democrat on education issues, said she and other legislators already are working on the issue. Rather than eliminate the program, she said there is support for freezing the funding and reviewing the program's purpose.

More than 100 districts receive state integration aid. Garofalo wants to block such funds from an education funding package for the next two-year budget period beginning July 1.

"It is difficult to argue money being spent is in the best interest of the districts," Garofalo said.