Robbinsdale Area Schools

School Finance Virtual Discussion Recording Available

Community members had an opportunity to learn more about school finance, including changes in special education cross-subsidies and the impact of open enrollment during a virtual discussion on Thursday, Oct. 8. 

The discussion featured state experts Dr. Tom Melcher and Paul Ferrin from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The pair discussed specific impacts for Robbinsdale Area Schools and responded to questions from the audience. 

If you weren't able to join us, a recording of the discussion is posted below. Click here to review the PowerPoint presentation. Click here to read a transcript.


Tom Melcher was the School Finance Director at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) for four decades. He retired in February 2020, but continues to work part-time to assist with the transition to new division leadership. He also provides support to the Commissioner’s School Finance Working Group. Before joining MDE, he was an assistant business manager with the Collier County, Florida Public Schools. Melcher earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Florida.

Paul Ferrin is currently the supervisor of the Special Education Funding and Data workgroup at MDE. He has worked at the department since 2013 in various roles including monitoring special education expenditures and providing data analytics to the special education funding workgroup. Ferrin earned a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Metropolitan State University.