Fewer teachers and school leaders in addition to less adventurous school meal choices are among the wide-ranging impacts of budget cuts envisioned for St. Paul Public Schools in 2024-25.

The state's second-largest district faces a $107.5 million budget deficit, and officials Wednesday outlined to board members the latest in a series of proposed reductions. So far, the school system has identified nearly $90 million in potential cuts.

"While we have made significant progress toward a balanced budget, and should be proud of where we are today, the fact remains that the cuts we are facing are larger than we've ever faced before," Superintendent Joe Gothard told board members.

St. Paul and other districts are confronted with the so-called "fiscal cliff" of federal pandemic relief funds drying up in September. A recent survey by the Association of Metropolitan School Districts found 70% of metro area districts grappling with shortfalls — after a historic state funding year.

Minneapolis tops the list with a $115 million gap and still must negotiate a new contract with teachers.

St. Paul reached a deal with educators last month. The $18 million in new contract costs for 2024-25 were accounted for in Wednesday's rundown of teacher reductions by grade level. For example, while the district is proposing to cut 11 elementary positions and 15.5 positions in the grades 6-12 and 9-12 schools, the total costs for instructors in those groups still would rise under the new contract.

Cuts to staff, early-childhood hub

The district is proposing to trim 110 full-time equivalent teaching positions altogether — a move that could result in some schools increasing the number of classrooms with students from two consecutive grades within them. Five school-level administrative positions also would be eliminated.

Other notable moves include the closing of one of the district's two early-childhood education hubs and a sharp reduction in the number of nutrition services workers.

Officials propose to eliminate the East Side hub, which was created as part of the Envision SPPS district-wide reorganization. That program took in preschoolers who had been attending a nearby Hmong magnet school. Hmong families objected because they didn't want to send siblings to separate sites.

Now, Txuj Ci HMong Language and Culture, formerly known as Phalen Lake, is set to become a preK-4 school still serving many Asian families and students. The district also aims to steer more preschoolers, too, to a Hamline-Midway area hub that also was a product of the Envision SPPS plan.

St. Paul has been trying to draw more preschoolers and lock them in for kindergarten to boost enrollment.

Fewer special lunch menus

Last year, the district's nutrition department made it a priority to work with parent advisory councils to create special menus celebrating the district's diversity. For example, bison nachos were served across the city last April. Now, the district is proposing to cut 16% to 19% of the department's staff.

"We are trying to minimize what we are changing, trying again to keep the favorites on the menu, but ultimately the whole department really will look pretty different than it does now," Stacy Koppen, the district's nutrition services director, told board members Wednesday.

On Thursday, Koppen said her department will be budgeting less per meal, and while it intends to continue working with parent leaders, special menus probably will be served less frequently.

The potential changes presented Wednesday follow an earlier presentation on $71.3 million in cuts that primarily involved federally funded staff and programming. The district has a $19.7 million hole left to fill and is considering tapping some of its rainy day funds.