200+ full-time positions could be cut, Minneapolis Public Schools working out budget shortfall

200+ full-time positions could be cut, Minneapolis schools working out budget shortfall

200+ full-time positions could be cut, Minneapolis schools working out budget shortfall

We’re getting a clearer picture of the possible job cuts at Minneapolis Public Schools — with a goal of saving more than $30 million, more than 200 full-time positions could be slashed.

At a finance committee meeting Tuesday, MPS board members heard the most recent budget proposal. Budgeting staff stressed that they “prioritize reducing rather than eliminating services” but added that elimination could not be avoided.

A recent report from the district’s new superintendent outlines a budget shortfall of at least $110 million. Now, the district is considering cutting the equivalent of more than 200 full-time employees.

RELATED: Minneapolis Public Schools plans cuts for next school year

The latest budget proposal would cut about 40 teachers, tutors, and support staff like interpreters. 15 fifth-grade music teachers would also be part of the cuts.

The district would leave 35 vacant bus driver positions open. Also, 30 student support services positions would be cut, which includes six school nurses.  

Some school board members expressed concerns about the possible cuts to the Student Support Services department, saying that would take away mental health resources. District staff tried to ease those worries Tuesday night.

“I’m not worried about it because I know that we’re going to find a solution because we’re creative and resourceful and I’m listening to grant webinars like, all day long now,” Dr. Meghan Hickey, executive director of Student Support Services said, adding: “I know we’re going to find funding solutions to make that work.”

Hickey also pointed out that some of the positions that are proposed to be cut were already planned to be cut due to grant money running out.

All this is happening as the district is in contract negotiations with the Minneapolis teachers union where teachers are working towards higher pay.

RELATED: Minneapolis teachers rally for new contract outside board meeting

Next steps for the budget proposal include a presentation to the full school board, set for March 26. Final approval for the budget would happen in June.

In response to the possible layoffs of over 200 employees, Minneapolis Public Schools sent 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the following:

“Minneapolis Public Schools is facing the largest budget gap we’ve ever seen – more than $110 million largely due to the end of federal COVID-19 dollars (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief), increased operating costs for expenses including transportation, utilities and declining enrollment. A significant portion of our budget supports staff, so we could not avoid reducing staff. As we make decisions we are keeping students and schools at the center of the process.”