Minneapolis Board of Education approves budget despite concerns over cuts

Minneapolis Board of Education members approved its 2022-23 budget on Tuesday, as members heard concerns from teachers, students, and parents about the impact of budget cuts on school programs.

The new budget brings a five percent cut for departments but increases funding for schools by one percent.

But, members of the public who spoke at the meeting, along with some board members, raised concerns about what the cut might mean for some programs, like arts and music. Superintendent Ed Graff said that the district knows students would benefit from more programs, but the district's hands are tied by a lack of funding at the state and federal levels.

"Until [lawmakers increase funding], school boards will be forced to make choices between things we all know our students need and what we can afford to run as an organization," said Superintendent Graff.

Another concern was how much the current budget depends on one-time funding grants, like ESSER which expires in 2024 while the district is grappling with falling enrollment. 

"At the end of the day, from my perspective, the legislature and the state doesn’t care about public education. If they did, they would have fully funded it 20 years ago," said Board Treasurer Kimberly Caprini. "It’s just my opinion that they don’t care for us... specifically Minneapolis and St. Paul. I don’t see that happening and, at the end of the day, this budget is sound that it is going to get us through a period of time when there will be the end of ESSER dollars. And where we are at that point, I have no idea."