What’s making news in Minneapolis, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to baird.helgeson@startribune.com.

District sends corrected budget splits to schools

Posted by: Steve Brandt under People and neighborhoods, Politics and government Updated: March 26, 2014 - 9:26 PM

Minneapolis' public schools sent corrected budget figures to 69 district schools on Tuesday following a foulup in earlier figures that severely shorted what the district said was about a dozen southwest schools.

The district didn't announce that it had released the new allocations for next school year until late Wednesday, a day later. Spokeswoman Rachel Hicks called it "reasonable" to give principals a look first.

Officials said that 59 of 69 schools will get increases in their discretionary spending compared to the current school year. Ten schools will get less money.

The allocations were sent to schools, but the district didn't post them on its web site.  However, the district did release the revamped discretionary portions of school budgets Wednesday evening in response to a Star Tribune request.  Those numbers do not include portions of school budgets which must be spent for designated purposes.

The district said that the revised allocations provide almost $8 million more to schools than those released earlier this month. That will be welcome news for the schools where parents complained loudly that the figures they had earlier been given wouldn't cover basic needs.

The latest budget figures are still preliminary and subject to revision before the board adopts a budget in June for the 2014-2015 school year in June. Area superintendents will still be working with principals to determine if they need additional money for unfunded needs from a discretionary pot. One prime use for preliminary budgets is deciding whether a school will release or add teachers and other staff for the coming year.

"I acknowledge and apologize that this budget process has been challenging and confusing." Chief Operating Officer Robert Doty (pictured) said in a public letter.     

Among the sites projected to get less discretionary money overall are Olson and Anthony middle schools, and Transition Plus, a program for older special education students. All three are projected to enroll fewer students. Getting less on a per-pupil basis were Dowling, Emerson, Northrop, Waite Park, Edison and North's Arts and Communication Academy, all of which are projected to add students.

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