Despite deficit, Minneapolis School Board votes to restore $6.4 million in funding

The Minneapolis School Board voted to restore $6.4 million in funding to this year's budget following an emotional meeting Tuesday night, a move that has the potential to save more than 350 jobs in the district.

Some students and parents were actually moved to tears while talking about the impact of potential cuts during the more than two hour-long meeting, ultimately saving millions of dollars in time adjustment allocation funding--or funding that is distributed to all middle and high schools to cover the expenses of a seven-period day--from the chopping block.

The district is facing a $33 million budget deficit and close to $16 million in cuts for the upcoming school year, with many hard decisions about staff layoffs and funding amounts still yet to be made. The school board is set to vote on a finalized budget sometime in June.

The $6.4 million was eliminated from the district’s initial budget proposal and puts more than 350 jobs at risk, including teaching positions, support staff, counselors, special education and security jobs.

For many parents, students and staff these cuts are personal, with one parent breaking down how the cuts would impact her son.

"In our opinions, the proposed budget cuts will have an incredible impact on the amount of support the school can provide for our son," one Washburn High School parent said. "We believe that the cuts will eliminate the people that our student depends on to obtain a high school education."

With declining enrollment and rising operational costs, there are concerns that if the board votes in favor of restoring the time adjustment funding, the move could be a short-time fix. Many gathered Tuesday said they were committed to fighting for school funding even beyond this school year.

"If we see something we don’t like, we will use our voices to speak out," one Washburn High School student said. "We can be very loud, and we’re going to keep using our voices until a good change happens."