- The Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) budget is designed to support our goals and priorities for students.
- Unfortunately, we – like most Minnesota school districts – do not have enough resources to meet all our needs.
- State and federal funding have not kept pace with inflation or increasing costs, forcing us to make hard choices.
- We have taken several steps to reduce expenses and balance our budget, all of which were guided by putting students first.
- To continue providing the quality education our students need and deserve, we are exploring options for increasing revenue, including the possibility of an operating levy increase request of voters in November 2018.
- SPPS’s operating levy is more than $300 per student less than the average for the Twin Cities metro area.
- SPPS’s per-student operating levy funding is among the lowest in the metro area.
- SPPS is the second largest district in the state, but has an operating levy lower than three-fourths of all metro area school districts.
- SPPS is projecting up to $17 million in budget cuts for the 2018-19 school year.
- The District made more than $50 million in budget cuts in the past three years.
Inadequate state funding
- If state funding had kept up with inflation over the past 15 years, the District would have received $600 more per student this year.
- If state funding had kept up with inflation over the past 15 years, the District would have received $21 million more this year.
- The special education programs that the District is required to provide, costs $42 million more than it receives each year, putting pressure on the operating budget.
- SPPS Board policy requires a 5 percent fund balance policy. If it drops below 5 percent, the district must take immediate action to bring it back up to 5 percent.
- A 5 percent fund balance is approximately $30 million, which would pay for district operations for only 2-½ weeks.
- A fund balance helps school districts prepare for any emergencies (state shut-down, unexpected operating increases, state payment shifts, etc). It should not be used for regular operating costs.
- If our fund balance drops below 5 percent, it affects our bond rating and borrowing ability, thus increasing the interest rates we pay on our debt. SPPS currently has a very favorable bond rating (AA+), which saves taxpayers money.
Administrative costs and cuts
- SPPS is the second largest school district in the state, but we spend less than the state average on district administration and more on classroom instruction as a percent of the operating budget. (NOTE: based on MDE’s most recent data: 2015-16)
- It is always our goal to keep cuts away from classrooms, but with ongoing budget shortfalls, it becomes increasingly difficult to limit impacts on schools.