From the superintendent


Dear Colleagues:

We all look forward to watching the outdoors turn green again in the next few weeks. Another rite of spring is the SPPS budgeting process. The past weekend, schools received information about funding for their staff and buildings for 2014-2015. Departments and programs will receive the same information Friday, April 18.

The best way to describe our district’s financial situation for next year is flat. Our general fund budget is just slightly larger ($505.6 million vs. $526.8 million), and much of that increase is the result of state-approved construction projects (such as roofs, lighting and other building/grounds maintenance) that are now paid out of our General Fund, rather than through more expensive bond funding.

The modest increase also will provide continued support for activities related to Strong Schools, Strong Communities 2.0 and cover inflationary costs.

A flat budget means there won’t be any significant enhancements to programs or services, but we’re grateful that the 4% increase from the legislature also means that there won’t be across-the-board cuts. We are also able to meet all contractual obligations, including new class size requirements that resulted from our contract agreement with the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers.

For those of you keeping a close eye on our Unassigned Fund Balance – an amount of money reserved for emergencies that covers approximately two weeks of SPPS expenditures – we are at the 5% minimum required by the board, and will work to increase that amount over the next few years to ensure a solid bond rating for our school system.

The Board of Education will vote on this proposed budget at their June 24 board meeting.

Finally, I want you to know that the legislative session is near its end. The governor already signed an anti-bullying bill that included some important amendments recommended by SPPS and other school districts. We look forward to continuing the work we began well before this bill was made law to keep our students safe in our schools.

Isn’t it wonderful to hear the birds singing outside again? Revel in the springtime.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature


Valeria S. Silva