The Anoka-Hennepin school board approved a nearly $600 million spending plan for next year, the final budget Superintendent David Law's proposed as he wraps up his eight-year tenure leading the state's largest district.

District officials expect they'll spend about $596 million while bringing in a little more than $569 million in revenue. That means Anoka-Hennepin will draw about $27 million from its $166 million reserve fund balance to make up the difference.

In May, Chief Financial Officer Michelle Vargas told the school board that one-time expenses account for about $23 million of next year's spending.

The board approved the spending plan on a 5-1 vote.

The lone dissenting vote came from board member Matt Audette, who wanted district leaders to provide a line-item breakdown on how much money Anoka-Hennepin schools spend on social-emotional learning and equity initiatives.

"I don't feel comfortable supporting the budget to include those programs in it," Audette said.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District's budgetary fortunes stand in contrast to the metro area's two other large districts. While Minneapolis and St. Paul schools grapple with steep declines in state funding as a result of shrinking enrollments, Anoka-Hennepin, the state's largest district, is expecting $8 million more from the state than it received this year.

Enrollment for the 2021-22 school year was a little more than 38,000 students, according to state records. District officials estimate about 300 more will enroll in Anoka-Hennepin schools next year.

The largest slice of the district's overall budget is personnel. Officials estimate salaries and benefits will account for nearly 80% of the general fund, about $476.5 million. Wages alone will cost the district about $354.8 million.

The district will spend $14.5 million more on personnel than it did this year.

Part of that is a 2% cost-of-living increase for Anoka-Hennepin educators, per the district's contract with its teachers union. Officials expect they'll also hire the equivalent of 14 full-time teachers due to increased enrollment.

Anoka-Hennepin also will spend $1 million on elementary math interventionists, about 10 full-time equivalents. The district also is spending $750,000 on middle school math and literacy coaches, the equivalent of three full-time positions.

Monday's school board meeting also marked Law's last at the helm of Minnesota's largest school district.

Board members praised Law for his collaborative approach and his focus on equity and inclusion during his tenure. Board Chair Marci Anderson introduced a resolution honoring Law for his service to the district and presented him with going-away presents.

"Everybody needs — no matter where they go in life — a little reminder of where they've been," she said.

Anderson presented Law with a certificate and an engraved cribbage board. Members then took turns praising the outgoing superintendent.

"David demonstrates all of the characteristics of a great leader, and Anoka-Hennepin is better for his time here," Board Member Jeff Simon said.

Law was hired away by Minnetonka Public Schools. Law officially begins his new job Friday, and he's been meeting with staff in the west-metro district over the last couple of weeks.

A graduate of Coon Rapids High, Law attended four schools as an elementary student before his family moved into the district. Throughout his farewell address, Law thanked the district's many employees and families, noting how the last two years have been particularly difficult.

"Humbly, I walk away, probably for the last time," Law said.

Earlier this month, the Anoka-Hennepin school board hired former Osseo Superintendent Katherine Maguire to serve as the district's interim leader during the search for a permanent replacement.

The school board will hire a new superintendent by the end of the calendar year.