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Associated Press, Published March 19 2013

Dayton willing to wait on sending Minnesota schools back payments

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton is willing to wait rather than take action to quickly deliver $800 million in back pay to Minnesota schools.

As House Democrats prepared to release budget targets Tuesday, they were planning to depart from Dayton on the issue of school IOUs by proposing accelerated repayment.

The state slowed payments to schools to balance past Minnesota budgets. In all, $2.7 billion in aid was temporarily held back, leaving districts to tap reserves or take out short-term loans. But $1.9 billion has been repaid because schools are first in line for surplus tax collections.

Dayton says the state is "on track" to make schools whole and that new money should be used to boost education allowances. If need be, Dayton says lawmakers can address the payment shift next year.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.