Just across the street from the Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters, a new billboard is calling out the district's high spending.
"Minneapolis Public Schools spends $525,000 per classroom of 25 students...per year," the billboard reads.
Better Ed, a non-profit, paid for the billboard. The organization, run by Devin Foley,has advocated for dismantling the Minneapolis School District.
The organization is based in Chaska. It calculated the district's spending using a $21,000 allocation per student. But according to the Minnesota Department of Education, Minneapolis spent $14,131 per student in 2014. The state spent $11,011 per pupil. St. Paul spent more than Minneapolis at $14,302.
Minnesota Department of Education spokesman Josh Collins called the organization's calculations "misleading."
In a news release, Foley said the billboard is timely, as it comes in the wake of two Star Tribune reports that revealed a $1 million no-bid contract with a Memphis IT company and the district's credit card purchasing practices that showed less than half of the transactions had receipts.
"We hope this billboard shows that more spending is not the answer to Minneapolis’ educational problems. Rather, the district needs systemic reform," said Daniel Lattier, the organization's vice president.
The nonprofit has purchased billboards in the past criticizing the district's graduation and academic performance.
Stan Alleyne, the district's spokesman, said the school district is focused on meeting its academic needs and allocating more of its resources directly to the schools.
"We also understand the issues that we are facing, but we are optimistic about our direction and our plan and our strategic plan," Alleyne said. "We are not focused on our critics."