ISD 191 budget proposal puts some extracurriculars on the chopping block

Some activities for middleschoolers could be off the table for Burnsville area schools if a proposed budget passes.

Athletics, orchestra, math club would all no longer exist for Burnsville-Eagan-Savage ISD 191 as the district considers making cuts.

This isn’t the first time proposed budget cuts have targeted athletics and enrichment activities. Parents, students, volunteers and teachers told FOX 9 they’re worried possible cuts could will affect district enrollment down the line.

With an expected $130 million in earnings, district officials says the greatest share comes from state aid. The majority of that money is spent on its people, such as teachers salaries, educational support, and administration. 

With enrollment declining and a $12.7 million special education budget shortfall, the district needs to make nearly $7 million in spending cuts. Administration is looking at cutting things like fifth grade band, middle school sports and science fair support.

At a budget meeting Wednesday night, many in attendance told FOX 9 they believe cutting extracurriculars isn’t the way to go.

“Cutting programs is not going to bring more kids in, it’s going to force more kids to play elsewhere or participate elsewhere,” said Brian Hugo, a volunteer.

“I hope the board understands that they’re the stewards of our students and the money and they will not take handfed proposals by the district and make those their proposals,” said Lucretia Jeffers, a Burnsville middle school teacher.

“We’re going to lose a lot of good kids,” said Teresa Christenson. “They’re just going to lose interest and they’re just going. Their heads are going to get turned by different things maybe the wrong things, we want to keep them in these programs."

In a statement, the district superintendent said, “These aren’t cuts we want to be making. We know that the programs we may be losing are important to students and their families. They aren’t on the list because we don’t value them. We wish we had the funding to continue them. The fact is that state aid has not kept up with inflation to the tune of $600 per student. That’s $5 million a year for us.”