Efforts to resolve a $27.3 million budget gap are likely to leave the St. Paul Public Schools with about 95 fewer teachers and support staff members in 2017-18, a district official said Tuesday.

About 25 positions involve teachers, Laurin Cathey, the district's human resources director, told school board members during their monthly committee meeting.

The numbers represent the best attempt yet at projecting the effects of a budget shortfall caused in part by an expected loss of about 1,100 students in the coming year. A drop in enrollment also was a factor in a $15.1 million shortfall in 2016-17.

School districts must set their annual budgets by the end of June. They remain a work in progress. It has not yet been determined how much the state will provide in per-pupil aid. Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed a 2 percent increase in the per-pupil funding formula. A legislative committee is weighing a 1.5 percent increase.

As part of St. Paul's budget planning, district principals were asked to craft spending plans based on allocations that included no additional state per-pupil dollars. Last week, however, district officials agreed to bank on an increase of at least 1.25 percent, allowing an additional $3.2 million to be used at various school sites. Individual school budgets were due last Friday. The district then projected potential staff cuts.

The district is expected to have about 69 fewer support-staff positions, which include teacher's aides, educational assistants and clerical workers.

Cathey said that he expects layoffs to come from the ranks of probationary teachers, not tenured ones.

Anthony Lonetree