Minneapolis Public Schools is facing a $28 million budget gap for the coming academic year, said Superintendent Ed Graff in a letter to school board members.
He has a plan to fix the shortfall, which includes a 10 percent trim to Central Services and a 2.5 percent reduction to school allocations, plus a "one-time" dip into reserves. But he continued in the letter that he hopes for a "structurally balanced budget" by the 2019-2020 school year — something the district hasn't had since 2010-2011.
"I want to share with you a simple reality: for the past five years, MPS has routinely spent significantly more money than it has – resulting in mid-year budget shortfalls that jeopardize the stability of our schools and their management," Graff said in the letter.
The district pinpointed the budget gap by doing things differently, he said — finding the gap at the "front end of the budget cycle," rather than rushing to fix it when it comes up.
Reasons for the gap include larger special education compliance costs, salary increases from last year's contract negotiations, more transportation costs and inflationary raises, Graff said.
To meet the 2019-2020 school year's goal for a "structurally balanced budget," Graff said he wants to talk about "how we can innovate to deliver services differently and drive improved outcomes."
He said in the letter that he plans to talk more about this at Thursday's finance committee meeting.