How We Got Here
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How We Got Here

How We Got Here

Over the past 15-20 years, many factors have impacted the size and scope of school district budgets across the country.

  • For example, Minneapolis Public Schools is proud to welcome all students to its classrooms, including Special Education and English Learner students. We provide high-quality, inclusive special education services and are able to meet the needs of many students because we receive some state and federal funding to do so. At the same time, we do NOT receive the full amount of funding to provide the services required, so we subsidize those services with other state dollars.
  • More than 85% of MPS revenues are invested in our employees. MPS has underscored the importance of its employees by providing negotiated salary increases each year, 8%-25% for its union employees since 2013.
  • Legislators at both the state and federal levels have increasingly created laws that require schools to provide important services – but have not created funding streams to pay for those services. These are called “unfunded mandates.” Examples include student to teacher ratios for Special Education and the length of time EL services must be provided per student.
  • Enrollment in traditional public schools has declined across the nation.
  • The Minnesota legislature made changes to the source of funding for education more than 15 years ago. That change was never attached to a consistent funding stream, resulting in years where school funding didn’t even meet inflation costs.
  • The inflationary costs of fuel, utilities  and transportation can make balancing budgets difficult, as can the cost of transportation related to school choice.


Key factors impacting a balanced budget at MPS and in school districts across the nation:


Graphic illustrating key factors impacting a balanced budget at MPS, including continued government underfunding of special education and english learning services, negotiated salary increases, increasing costs of state and federal mandates, enrollment declines, insuffecient state funding for public schools, and rising fuel and utility costs.