Inside the Supt's Office
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Inside the Supt's Office

February 2018

Tonight we’re hosting the third of four community budget dialogues to more broadly share information about our projected $33 million deficit and our systemic recommendations to close the gap. My hope is that the sessions will help us garner ideas for additional cost-savings, and introduce other ways for families and community members to get involved in the budget process. I also hope many of you will take the opportunity to learn more by coming to the meeting tonight or next Tuesday at the Wilder Complex, or view the online meeting presentation.
 
Our goal is to make strategic budget reductions and programming changes over the next two years that will help us build a long-term sustainable budget; a budget that will allow us to equitably offer the kind of educational experiences we believe all our students deserve. We look forward to sharing proposed 2018-19 budgets with schools and departments on Feb. 23.
 
The reality of making significant budget reductions for next school year is that the decisions will have an impact on every school and department, and on every employee group. In other words, people will be affected. Nearly 85% of the MPS budget is allocated to the salaries and benefits paid to our 6,000 employees. To that end, we have worked to be strategic in our reductions in order to maximize our support for students, minimize impact to staff, and balance our budget.
 
This is a challenging time for our school district, but one we will get through if we can work together. While we are making reductions, we are also prioritizing our budget to support our four core priorities: literacy, equity, social and emotional learning, and student support systems.
 
Today I am asking all of us to rethink how we are used to doing business—individually and collectively. The way we have been accustomed to operating year after year is no longer sustainable. The work we do over the next several weeks and months will signal the first year of a two-year effort to fundamentally restructure the District to be streamlined and aligned to what we know works and is fiscally sustainable.
 
As you have discussions in your schools and departments, I encourage you to challenge assumptions, remain open to questions about your work and budgets, and focus on how we can work collaboratively to create an overall budget that keeps students first. We must be good stewards of the dollars with which the community has entrusted us. Our staff, students and families deserve no less.
 
Ed Graff