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District to begin budget reduction and realignment process this spring

(02/05/2024) Anoka-Hennepin Schools is facing budget challenges similar to school districts across the state that have created a budget imbalance that must be addressed. Action is being taken now in order to lower the impact on classrooms with a phased, two-year plan to remedy an preliminary $30 million adjustment prior to the 2025-26 school year.  

  • Phase 1: The budget reduction and realignment process will begin with central office personnel and program reductions effective June 30, 2024, impacting the 2024-25 school year budget. This phase will reduce administrative support by approximately 45 positions - equal to a $4 to $5 million reduction. These adjustments aim to lower the impact of reductions at school sites for the following school year. 

  • Phase 2: A plan to establish a timeline for the 2025-26 budget reduction and realignment is projected for June, and will involve public input and review of proposals in the fall of 2024. It is expected that a process will be  approved in December 2024. This timeline provides opportunities for stakeholder input and adequate time to plan and implement the changes prior to the 2025-26 school year. 

Convergence of factors: It isn’t one thing causing this budget situation, but rather a convergence of factors that lead to a process to match the district’s expenditures with the funding reality, including:

  • limited or stable enrollment growth, 

  • elimination of federal pandemic relief funds, 

  • higher than budgeted employee contract settlements, 

  • inflation and increasing costs for transportation and operations support,

  • no additional revenue from state or federal sources anticipated,

  • and new requirements without funding support.  

A similar budget reality is impacting numerous school districts in the metro area and across the state. This is not just an issue in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.

Did schools across the state just receive new funding? While it is true that the Minnesota Legislature provided significant new funding for schools in the 2023 session, that legislation also included new requirements, some without funding attached. Some of this funding was used this school year to address student and staffing needs for special education, English Learners and student behavior support. 

In addition, the cost of operating schools is increasing due to inflation. The district anticipates significant increases in transportation, facility maintenance, utilities, supplies and materials costs - with no increase in state funding formula support or revenue from the federal government. 

Overall goal: The district is pursuing an informed, thoughtful, planned process to reduce and realign the budget over the next two years to provide time and input from stakeholders to ensure the best decisions are being made to maintain the quality of education in our schools.