Schools announce third year of budget cuts

Minneapolis Public School Superintendent Carol Johnson and Chief Operating Officer David Jennings said at the Dec. 10 School Board meeting that they anticipate a $25 million deficit for the 2003-2004 school year .

This shortfall follows two years of budget cutting; including a $31 million cut in 2002-2003 and $25 million in 2001-2002.

Johnson said the budget shortfall is a result of the Minneapolis School District's declining enrollment, state and federal mandates and state funding increases falling behind rising expenses.

Jennings said next year's cuts will result in fewer classroom activities, something the district avoided in previous years. Though MPS won't release budget specifics until Jan. 21, Jennings said the District's top priority is to improve student achievement. Jennings said academic programs that produce incremental results are likely to be scrapped. "We have to review the current instructional costs with their results and give priority to [programs] with the most bang for the buck," said Jennings.

Jennings didn't cite which programs the district will cut, but said they won't include programs such as all-day kindergarten that produce significant increases in student achievement.