Washburn High School facing potential $1.6 million budget cut

At a time when schools are fighting for every dollar, a Minneapolis high school is in danger of losing a lot of them.

A school board member says it's a district-wide problem, but Washburn High School parents say their school could lose more than a $1 million in funding.

“There’s a lot of fear, a lot of worry, a lot of crying and a lot of conversation,” said Jeanne Massey, a parent.

During an emergency meeting this week, Washburn High School leaders laid out a plan for proposed budget cuts. Massey says that the outlook isn’t good.

“Our non-teaching staff stands to bear the biggest brunt of cuts,” said Massey. “And that means we could lose most of our security, most of our counselors, the whole operating budget of the school will be gutted.”

With the district facing a $33 million budget shortfall, Massey says that Washburn is looking to cut roughly $1.6 million from its budget, putting at least 21 support jobs at risk.

“These cuts are coming on the backs of our students, our most vulnerable students and at the safety of our school,” said Massey.

Diana Benjaafar, a parent, says that the budget is expected to take a significant hit due to a reduction in Title I funding, which is federal money that is given to schools with students in need.

“It’s gut-wrenching to be honest,” said Benjaafar.

Nelson Inz, a member of the Minneapolis School Board, confirms changes will be coming.

“Yes, we’re in the process of dealing with these cuts and that’s going to impact people in a lot of ways and it’s really a tragic thing,” said Inz.

Inz says that cuts in state funding have left the district with few options.

“We’re trying to the best we can with the amount of money we get, but we’re woefully underfunded by the state,” said Nelson.

With jobs on the line, parents are urging district leaders to consider alternatives.  

“Every single day, the administration is trying to understand the severity of these cuts and it’s creating a lot of chaos inside the school when it’s seems so unnecessary,” said Massey.