School-Based Budgeting 101

  • Each spring, school administrators are given a budget based on the demographics of the students they serve.

    Every student enrolled in a school represents about $6,000 of general education revenue. In addition, “compensatory revenue” is extra money received for each student who is eligible for free and reduced-price lunch.

    Additional money from the state or federal government is provided for:

    • Students receiving special education services (for every dollar spent, SPPS is only reimbursed 59 cents)
    • Students who are learning English as a second language (English learners)
    • Students who qualify for Title I funding



    SPPS – like most Minnesota school districts – does not have enough resources to meet all our needs.

    State and federal funding have not kept pace with inflation or increasing costs, forcing SPPS to make hard choices. It is always our goal to limit the impacts to schools and classrooms - but with three straight years of budget cuts totaling $50 million, it becomes increasingly difficult.



    Most of the money a school receives is “categorical funding” which means it is already committed to being spent on particular items or services.

    These commitments are determined by contract negotiations, such as commitments made with the teacher’s union to maintain smaller class sizes.

    Other district commitments and priorities that include funding to:

    • Improve school climate
    • Provide specialists in art, gym and music
    • Provide other support as determined by a school’s needs





    A thoughtfully prepared school budget must ensure:

    • Resources are allocated to meet the needs of all learners
    • Resources contribute to building a school community in which all members feel welcomed, valued and supported

    When considering a school’s budget, good questions to consider include:

    • How is the budget aligned to student achievement?
    • How do class size limits affect the school?
    • How will specialists be chosen? (art, music, etc.)


What's Next?

  • For the next school year, the district's expenses are projected to increase due to inflationary increases in salaries, benefits, supplies and utilities.

    SPPS is projecting a 2.9 million dollar shortfall for the 2019-20 school year. The budget must be brought in balance before June 30, 2019 when the Board of Education votes to approve it.

Last Modified on April 28, 2020