The revised allocations provide a total funding increase of approximately $40 million directly to schools, rather than the roughly $33 million previously communicated. This includes increases of about $3 million for class size adjustments, about $3 million for basic per pupil expenditures and about $2 million in discretionary funds. or funds that individual schools have flexibility to determine how to spend.
In preliminary allocations, 59 of 69 MPS school budgets received increases in both total discretionary dollars and individual per pupil amounts. The remaining 10 schools initially received slightly lower discretionary allocations or per pupil amounts. The MPS finance team and associate superintendents worked with these schools individually to review their proposed budgets and ensure all needs had been fully met in the updated budget allocations.
"I am pleased to report to you that preliminary budget allocation issues involving some of our schools have been resolved," said Chief Operating Officer Robert Doty in a letter to families and the community. "Despite our challenges, I am very proud of the outcomes of this budget planning process. Shifting approximately $40 million from central office budgets to individual school budgets has laid a solid foundation for the school district's work to create a more equitable and transparent funding process for our schools."
The school district's proposed FY15 budget provides more support to high priority schools, which are lower-performing schools designated for special focus to raise student achievement, by reducing class size ratios to 18 students per teacher in kindergarten through third grade. The budget includes an increase to fund academic intervention strategies, which include additional math and reading specialists for schools. It also provides more funding for International Baccalaureate programs, arts and world languages and support to English learners and maintains funding for magnet schools.
The proposed budget also enhances transportation services by adding buses and safety equipment; increases funding for school custodians to ensure buildings are cleaned and well maintained; and supports school climate and safety by maintaining school resource officers at schools.
MPS' budget recommendation is preliminary and will continue to be discussed in board committee meetings, schools and the community in April and May. The school board is scheduled to vote on the FY15 budget in late June. For a schedule of engagement opportunities and to learn more, visit www.bit.ly/MPSbudget.