Minneapolis school board votes to approve $976 million budget

The Minneapolis Public School Board voted Tuesday to approve its $976 million budget.

The school district is facing serious financial trouble and could dip into the negative when federal COVID-19 funding dries up in a year. The district’s own financial report calls the situation an “impending fiscal crisis” for the 2024-25 school year.

The district said the issues causing this are rising costs and declining enrollment. The district reported that the number of children under five and living in the city fell 17% between 2020 and 2021 alone.

State funding is tied to enrollment, meaning that if the district goes into the red, the state could intervene in a process called “statutory operating debt.”

“Then they come in and just require certain planning to ensure that they have a plan to get back into a more healthy fiscal position,” explained Gary Lee, the deputy executive director at Minnesota School Boards Association.

Nearly 80% of the district’s general fund is used to pay salaries, wages and benefits. The teacher strike last year also led to 5% raises over the next two years.