Hopkins Public Schools is beginning a two-year process to right-size our General Fund budget and transform into a system that operates in complete alignment with the strategies, programs, and approaches that will produce the best outcomes for students.
The work ahead
We have an immediate need to right-size our General Fund budget for 2020-21 by about $2.5 million or 2.5 percent. While this is a manageable number, and not outside what other school districts* are experiencing, we are faced with making reductions to programs and staff. The two biggest contributors to our budget challenge is inadequate state funding along with program expenses that have outpaced revenue. Our fund balance is presently within our policy guidelines. It will not, however, remain within our fund balance parameters if we do not reduce our budget by 2.5 percent for 2020-21.
*Other School District Budget Reduction Amounts:
Bloomington, $4.2M; Brooklyn Ctr, $2.4M; Burnsville, $7.5M; ECCS, $7.2M; Edina, $1M; Eden Prairie, $1M; Mpls, $27M; North St. Paul, $1.9M; Osseo, $5M; Prior Lake, $3M; Robbinsdale, $3.8M; SPPS, $9.9M; Shakopee, $2.5M; and St. Louis Park, $2.4M + others.
Our timeline for 2020-21
Hopkins cabinet leaders and principals have deeply analyzed the entire General Fund budget and feedback and suggestions from staff and parents. With this in mind, on March 20, the Hopkins School Board considered a set of budget recommendations to begin to right-size the budget for the 2020-21 as proposed by district leaders. Our proposal minimizes classroom and people impact, protects mental health and socioemotional health resources and learning supports, and protects special education services.
The positive news
Enrollment at Hopkins has been on the rise two years in a row. Projections show that it will be up again in 2020-21. Without these enrollment increases, our financial picture would be much more challenging. We have a bold vision — Vision 2031 — that will guide us. Over the next two years, we intend to look at all aspects of our budget and transform it to align with the goals of our vision.
The process for 2021-22
We anticipate an additional round of cuts of roughly the same amount in 2021-22. Our work for those reductions begins now. We are looking holistically at our budget to better understand how programs or departments could or should intersect with one another. Our system was originally built in silos to support an industrial economy. It will take time and tenacity to break down these silos and rebuild an interdisciplinary system that fully aligns to the values of Vision 2031. While these budget reductions are a challenging reality, we also see opportunities to connect programs, innovate, and stay true to our vision as we move Hopkins Public Schools from Great to World Class.
We will use the 20-21 school year to collaboratively design a more cohesive coaching model as well as a new model for personalizing rigorous instruction, enrichment, and acceleration opportunities accessible to all students. It is our fiscal responsibility to look ahead more than one year and work collaboratively with all of you to determine our budget path for the 21-22 school year as we prepare to transform our system toward increased alignment with Vision 2031. We will be in touch with you about that soon. Please keep checking this page for updates on our process and opportunities to get involved.