MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Chisago Lakes School District is facing a major budget crisis.
Administrators say they need to trim more than $1.5 million from their budget by next year.
Thursday night, the school board met in Lindstrom to talk about potential cuts. Thirty-four-hundred kids attend school in this district, and these cuts could potentially impact every corner of their learning and extracurricular experience.
Teaching and coaching positions, textbooks and middle school sports teams are all on the chopping block.
“You guys do a great job, don’t fall back on it,” said a parent.
On Thursday night, parents and students got the opportunity to share their thoughts on the potential cuts, which include everything from field trips to the school play.
“Theater is my childhood, and cutting it from the school is like throwing away all of my memories,” said a student.
Superintendent Dean Jennissen says the original budget did not accurately predict how much would be spent this school year, putting them in the $1.6 million hole.
“It really is funding that doesn’t keep up with inflationary costs,” Jennissen said.
The district blames higher transportation costs for special needs students, activity costs and increases in staff wages and salary for the gap.
“We’re concerned with every reduction on that list, so we hope at the end of this we still have the quality program that everybody looks for,” Jennissen said.
Jeremy Orton has a son who is a sixth grader in the district.
“It’s like what we teach our kids, you know, you don’t go buy things that you don’t have the money for. So, we shouldn’t be spending money we don’t have yet,” Orton said.
He says he doesn’t know how school officials could big budget blunder.
“Either somebody really screwed up, dereliction of duty, or where’s the money? Why are we so short?” Orton said.
The school board will make their final decision on these cuts two weeks from now.