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Minneapolis, St. Paul school districts aren’t alone in budget-balancing mode

Star Tribune article by Anthony Lonetree and Beena Raghavendran

Tough questions and high emotions have been at the center of budget talks in the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts, but other school systems also share an unpopular assignment: They’ve got shortfalls to erase.

A survey released Friday by the Association of Metropolitan School Districts shows that 27 of its 40 member districts face budget deficits totaling $97 million for 2017-18.

That is nearly double the $50 million-plus shortfall projected a year ago for 2016-17 in what for many school districts has been an annual budget-balancing rite of spring. The deficits reported Friday could swell, too, because they reflect estimates based on Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal to raise the bedrock per-pupil funding formula by 2 percent in 2017-18 — not the 1.5 percent increase proposed by a House-Senate conference committee.

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