Minneapolis Weighs a Shorter School Year

December 13, 2017 06:18 PM

Could a shorter school year be coming to Minneapolis?

The city's school district is facing a $33 million deficit, and is exploring ways to reduce it.


One of the suggestions being considered is to eliminate school days. A resolution was presented to the school board Monday night by superintendent Ed Graff.

It proposes eliminating the last two days of classes for Minneapolis students this year - June 11 and 12, a Monday and Tuesday. The district said there are many details that still need to be discussed. But one of the reasons the idea has come up is the potential cost saving.

The district said it could save a million dollars a day - cutting back on transportation, student meals and salaries.

Would you like to see Minneapolis Public Schools shorten the school year by two days to save money?  Or do you think the district should look elsewhere for savings?  You can let Superintendent Ed Graff know your thoughts by sending him a video clip or e-mail.

Classes ended on June 14 during the 2016-17 school year, and some students were attending class without air conditioning during a stretch of really hot days. The district said there were more staff and student absences, and it also got feedback from parents about the school year being too long.

"When you're looking at a $33 million deficit, you have to make big and tough decisions about what things change in order to move forward," said Dirk Tedmon, the district's media relations coordinator. "But we are committed to doing what is best for our students and our families." 

Over the last couple months, the district has conducted a budget survey which included questions about the school calendar. The district said the results show a clear majority of respondents favor eliminating the last two days of school this year.

However, the district admits there were concerns expressed in the online and phone surveys.

"Some of the feedback we got was from parents concerned about childcare, or programming or summer activities, and we take those to heart, very seriously, and that's one of the things we are looking at how we can address it," Tedmon said.

The district said the main concern was that online respondents - who largely supported reducing the number of school days - weren't representative of the district as a whole, with 84 percent identifying as white.

Meanwhile, respondents to the phone surveys were more opposed to eliminating the last two days of the school year.

The district said those respondents were 80 percent parents of students of color.

The district expects to vote in January on whether to eliminate those two school days.

There is also some discussion about starting the 2018-19 school year after Labor Day. 


Jessica Miles

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