Reporting Heather Brown
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For the first time in several years, Minneapolis Public Schools are making big cuts to next year’s budget.
They need to cut $25 million out of a $517 million dollar budget, and some parents aren’t happy about it.
Dozens of parents gathered for Friday morning’s school board finance committee meeting where officials laid out the numbers.
What the district kept stressing is that this is just preliminary, and that they only have two more weeks to make their final decisions.
But they say things could change.
Parents — especially those at at schools in southwest Minneapolis hit the hardest — are really hoping that’s the case.
At Kenny Elementary, the principal has been told he needs to cut $134,000. To him, that means potentially cutting associate educators’ jobs, less money for supplies, getting rid of band, and going from full to a half-day kindergarten.
“I know they try the best they can, but the kids aren’t’ dollar signs and numbers, they’re kids,” parent Anthony Rodriguez said.
In years past, the district has tapped into their reserves to cover the shortfall. They say they can’t do that again.
“We have to figure out how we’re going to live within our means or the sustainability of the district might be in question,” said district CFO Robert Doty.
Schools in southwest Minneapolis are expected to take a deeper hit because they receive little or no federal money set aside for schools with low-income students.
The district says it still has some money to make sure no school is especially hard hit, and that it will discuss more options next week.
“Because of their emails and the many emails we have gotten, we hear you,” said board member Rebecca Gagnon. “And the district is fully aware adjustments need to be made.”