Minneapolis School Board “Forced” Into Decision-Making

The Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) board has been “forced” into a lot of decision-making lately.

Two weeks ago, a group of protesters backed the MPS board into a corner, “forcing” its members to cave to mob pressure and reverse the layoffs of seven educators of color who were allegedly fired because of racism. A week later, nearly 100 principals and assistant principals showed up to oppose the board’s reinstatement decision, saying the staff cuts were budget-based.

And with a budget gap of $28 million looming over the district, Minneapolis schools will be “forced to cut hundreds of jobs” to fill the shortage, a Star Tribune article headlined.

But this could have been avoided with better budgeting and spending practices. This isn’t the district’s first time facing a budget deficit. Or its second time. The Minneapolis Public School District has not had a balanced budget since 2010. And lack of funding doesn’t seem to be the issue. Even with increased revenues from property tax collections last year, the district still overspent its 2016 budget by $21.6 million.

Which means the MPS board can do better. Good governance does not include poor budgeting and spending habits or succumbing to peer pressure.