Lynnhurst grapples with unspent Burroughs money

The Lynnhurst Neighborhood Association (LYNAS) is debating what to do with $28,000 in unspent NRP funds contracted to Burroughs Community School in 1999. The original contract has expired.

Most of the funds were allocated for Burroughs’ gymnasium, basketball and multi-purpose room. The other $10,000 was allocated for the Burroughs garden and garden furniture. Since 1999, Burroughs has demolished its old building at 50th Street and Minnehaha Parkway; a new school will open in September facing 50th Street and Logan Avenue.

Peg Mountin, NRP Neighborhood Specialist, told LYNAS that since the contracts have expired, the money is now unattached.

Mountin has granted Burroughs extensions for the LYNAS money but said those can no longer be granted since a full year has passed since the contract expired.

Mountin said part of the confusion has arisen because of the Minneapolis School District’s poor accounting. "It worries me that when bills come from the district, I can’t tell where or when they bought the items," she said.

Mountin told the LYNAS board they would have to call a neighborhood-wide meeting if they wanted to re-direct more than $25,000 in NRP funds. Alternatively, a simple board vote could grant Burroughs another extension.

Burroughs Principal Tim Cadotte said the account has remained inactive because he stopped spending NRP funds when Burroughs moved out of their old building.

"We’re in a hard position moving our entire school family while keeping it intact. But our intent — that we thought showed insight and wisdom — was to wait and not spend the money until we’re in the new building," said Cadotte.

Burroughs media specialist and LYNAS board member Nancy Henen hoped the Board wouldn’t re-allocate the funds away from the school.

"In good faith, [LYNAS] designated money to education and just because all of a sudden there’s an error in the paperwork, education shouldn’t have to suffer," Henen said. "Frankly we can use the money at the school."

Susan Glenn, a librarian at Washburn Public Library, 5244 Lyndale Ave. S., told the board there are other ways to spend the money and uphold education.

"Education is a priority for the neighborhood, and Burroughs is a vital part, but it’s not the only way to obtain an education in this community," said Glenn.

LYNAS Board will vote on the issue during their Thursday, May 8 board meeting. It begins at 7 p.m. at the Lynnhurst Community Center, West 50th Street and West Minnehaha Pkwy.