Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Levy windfall, bond proposal brighten schools' outlook

Unexpected revenue will benefit schools, programs most in need


Compared to the end of 2012, when the results of massive layoffs and seemingly bottomless budget woes cast a gloomy pall over the Beaverton School District, the 2013 holiday season is presenting a much jollier picture.

As Superintendent Jeff Rose reviews a $680 million bond measure proposal to present to voters on the May 2014 ballot to fund new schools, technology and major building renovations, district administrators are considering how to allocate $3 million more in local option levy revenue than it expected to collect. by: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Superintendent Jeff Rose says, 'We are working collaboratively with principals and district administrators to identify teaching areas to be addressed with these additional local option funds. This process includes reviewing current class size and achievement data. The funds will be targeted to reduce larger class sizes and increase student achievement.'

Claire Hertz, district chief financial officer, shared news of the unexpected windfall at last week’s School Board business meeting.

The levy voters approved in May was originally projected to bring in $15 million, but actual tax collections received between November to mid-December totaled $3 million more than expected, pushing the amount to $18 million.

The levy was proposed to prevent teacher cuts, restore at least 151 of the 344 teaching positions previously cut and address some of the larger class sizes that resulted. So far, the funding has returned 201 teachers to their classrooms.

“We’re pretty much done with the layoffs list,” said district spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler.

The levy does not restore multiple years of budget reductions totaling $142 million, but it “changes the trajectory in a positive way,” Rose wrote in the district’s Dec. 20 community newsletter.

“We are working collaboratively with principals and district administrators to identify teaching areas to be addressed with these additional local option funds,” he said. “This process includes reviewing current class size and achievement data. The funds will be targeted to reduce larger class sizes and increase student achievement.”

The additional funding will not be spread equally throughout the schools but applied using an “equity lens.”

“It’s going to where it’s needed most. It’s not equal,” Wheeler said. “We’re asking principals to scrutinize what they have — their programs, grades, class sizes and student achievement data — to see where we’d be able to best utilize the resources.”

Decisions about specific allocations will be made after the holidays in January.

“It’s going in the right direction,” Wheeler said of the unexpected windfall.

In other funding and budget developments, Rose is reviewing a $680 million bond proposal the committee approved on Dec. 11 and presented to the board at its Dec. 16 meeting.

Expected to be put before voters in May, the bond proposal targets nearly 30 projects, including a new high school in the proposed South Cooper Mountain development area, a new elementary school in the North Bethany area and rebuilding of Vose, William Walker and Hazeldale elementary schools.

After some discussion about increasing the $2.11 per $1,000 of property value by 7 cents to raise expected revenue by $30 million, the committee decided to stick with the board’s recommendation for the lower amount.

The committee, which comprises elected officials, parents, teachers, administrators and local businesspeople, ultimately decided to include a $28.3 million proposal to add rebuilding the Arts and Communication Magnet Academy’s aging main building to the project list. To accommodate that project, it trimmed and deferred expansion and improvement projects at Springville and Raleigh Hills K-8 schools.

The bond proposal includes $109 million for the new high school and $3 million to acquire around 10 acres for a new elementary school in the South Cooper Mountain area. The list designates $25 million for a new elementary school in North Bethany and $51.6 million for a new 850-student middle school on the former Teufel Nursery property adjacent to the fledgling Timberland housing development.

Following his review of the committee’s findings, Rose will present his recommendations to the board at its Jan. 13 business meeting. He encourages those who want to weigh in to email Richard Stenbrugge, the district’s executive director for facilities, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

To view the recommended project list, visit beaverton.k12.or.us/depts/facilities/Pages/2014- Future-Bond-Planning.aspx.



Local Weather

Fair

43°F

Beaverton

Fair

Humidity: 100%

Wind: 0 mph

  • 2 Oct 2014

    Mostly Sunny 73°F 49°F

  • 3 Oct 2014

    Sunny 81°F 52°F