St. Paul’s School District Budgets Around Major Enrollment Loss – Twin Cities

Next school year enrollment is expected to decline by a sufficient number of students to reduce the overall size of St. Paul’s public schools overall budget for a second straight year.

The district projects the loss of 1,877 students, down nearly 6% from this year. That would mean a drop in revenue of $8.3 million, to $563.3 million.

Rising inflationary costs are another $23 million hit to the budget.

Add $11.3 million in cost transfers as the district tries to wean itself off federal coronavirus relief grants and the district has what it’s described as a $42.6 million “deficit.” he had to make everything work at the same levels as this year.

HOW THEY INTEND TO CLOSE THE GAP

This week, district leaders provided a high-level overview of how they intend to close that gap:

  • Cuts of $20.9 million would be made to programs and schools. The district is still tracking the effects of these funding cuts.
  • Savings of $2.9 million would be realized by realigning allocations for Title I (low-income) programs and schools.
  • $14.2 million of general fund expenditures for programs and schools would be covered by federal grants from the U.S. bailout; the district has until September 2024 to spend all of its ARP funds.
  • $9.4 million would be covered by previous COVID-19 relief grants known as ESSER II, for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, which must be spent by September 2023.

Meanwhile, the district will increase spending by $2.8 million for priority programs and expects an additional $2 million in inflationary cost increases in other areas.

Expenditure details will be available next month before the school board votes to approve next year’s budget.

Consistent with the district’s strategic plan, spending will focus on promoting equity, a positive school culture, culturally appropriate education, and academic and career pathways.

Apart from the regular general fund budget, $98 million of planned spending next year will be covered by COVID-19 relief grants. This will pay for, among other things, a large number of additional teachers in elementary schools and free meals in schools that would not otherwise qualify.

BUDGET INFORMATION MEETINGS

The school district is holding five budget briefings next week:

  • Monday, in English, in a virtual format broadcast live at noon on its website and in person at 6 p.m. at its administrative offices at 360 Colborne St.
  • Tuesday, in Karen, 6 p.m. at the Washington Technology Magnet.
  • Wednesday, in Spanish, at 6 p.m. at 360 Colborne St.
  • Thursday, in Hmong, at 6 p.m. at 360 Colborne St.
  • Friday, in Somali, at 6 p.m. at 360 Colborne St.