• Finance Facts

  • Background

    • 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 students’ 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, the Board of Education unanimously approved placing a school funding request on the Nov. 6 ballot.


    Levy comparisons

    • 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.

    operating levies


    Budget cuts

    • SPPS has cut more than $50 million in the past three years and approved cuts of $17.2 million for the 2018-19 school year.



    Inadequate state funding

    • If state funding had kept up with inflation over the past 15 years, the District would have received nearly $620 more per student this year. – or a total of $21.6 million this year alone.
    • Required special education programs cost the District $42 million more than it receives each year, putting additional pressure on the operating budget.

    State Basic General Education Funding per Student


    Fund balance

    • 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.
    • SPPS currently has a very favorable bond rating, which saves taxpayers money.
    • Only five Minnesota school districts have a higher bond rating than SPPS. SPPS’s bond rating is in the top 15 percent of rated Minnesota districts
    • If our fund balance drops below 5 percent, it could affect our bond rating and borrowing ability, thus increasing the interest rates we pay on our debt.
    • By continuing its good financial practices which keep the district at its current bond rating, the district is saving taxpayers nearly $3.5 million in interest on their total debt over the life of the bonds.



    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. 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.