How a school CFO untangled a big city district’s budget

May 6, 2019 | StarTribune

After a particularly intense week at work recently, Ibrahima Diop retreated to the garage of his Minneapolis home and started painting a scene from his childhood in Senegal.

He paints to ease his stress. And his job, as the chief financial officer for Minneapolis Public Schools, is extremely stressful, he says. He is responsible for managing a $945 million budget that covers the needs of more than 36,000 students and more than 3,500 teachers at a time when the district, like so many others, is grappling with falling enrollment and fewer resources. Despite these challenges, Diop has managed to help the Minneapolis school district dig itself out of a deep budget rut and start to stabilize its finances.

Having erased a whopping $33 million deficit last spring — the largest gap in recent history — his 2019-20 proposed budget is balanced without having to lay off staff or dip into the district’s rainy-day fund.

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