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Sunday, May 22, 2022

St. Paul’s School District plans budget around big enrollment loss

Enrollment in the next school year is expected to reduce the overall size of St. Paul Public Schools’ general fund budget for the second year in a row.

The district is planning a loss of 1,877 students, which is about 6 percent less than this year. That would mean an $8.3 million drop in revenue, to $563.3 million.

The increase in inflation costs adds another $23 million to the budget.

Add $11.3 million to the cost turnaround as the district tries to wean itself off federal coronavirus relief grants and the district has what it describes as a “shortage” of $42.6 million if it manages to operate everything at the same level as this year. was for.

How do they intend to close the gap

District leaders this week gave a high-level overview of how they want to bridge that gap:

  • programs and schools will be cut by $20.9 million. The district is still compiling the effects of those cuts in funding.
  • Savings of $2.9 million will be achieved by rearranging allocations for Title I (low-income) programs and schools.
  • $14.2 million in general fund spending on programs and schools will be covered by federal grants from the US Rescue Plan; The district has until September 2024 to spend all its ARP funds.
  • $9.4 million will be covered by the first COVID-19 relief grant known as ESSER II for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, which should be spent by September 2023.

Meanwhile, the district will spend $2.8 million for priority programs and inflation costs in other areas are expected to increase by an additional $2 million.

Spending details will be made available next month by a vote of the school board to approve next year’s budget.

Consistent with the district’s strategic plan, spending will focus on fostering equity, positive school culture, culturally responsive instruction, and college and career paths.

Separate from the regular General Fund budget, $98 million in planned spending next year will be covered by the COVID-19 Relief Grant. This would, among other things, pay for a large number of additional teachers in primary schools and free lunches in schools that would not otherwise qualify.

budget information meeting

The school district is holding five informational meetings about its budget next week:

  • Monday, in English, in virtual format livestreamed on its website at noon and in person at 6 p.m. at its administrative offices at 360 Colborne St.
  • Tuesday, in Caron, at 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. 360 Colborne St.
  • Friday, in Somali, at 6 p.m. at 360 Colborne St.
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