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Budget forecast allows districts to restore programs, positions

Like local cities, area school districts are feeling more confident with budget plans than in recent years, with many restoring certain programs and positions.

In the Woodburn School District, three elementary-level teacher positions, one secretarial position, five administrator positions and an assistant maintenance supervisor position are all being added to the 2014-15 budget.

The administrator jobs will be assistant principals at the middle schools and elementary schools, with one being shared between Heritage and Nellie Muir elementary schools, as well as a high school athletic director.

“This brings us close to full strength, to where we were before,” Superintendent Chuck Ransom said about restoring administrative positions. “Assistant principals are directly tied to everything we do because they impact school safety and discipline.”

Of the administrators on the recall list, one has accepted the opportunity to return to the district. Jeff Taylor was laid off in 2012 after serving as French Prairie Middle School’s assistant principal for a year. It is unclear where he will be placed within the district next year, but he will be back, Ransom confirmed.

Last year, the district restored an administrative position, recalling Luisa Rodriguez. She requested to return to the classroom next year, so her position as Lincoln Elementary School’s assistant principal is also open.

The three teacher positions will likely be in the kindergarten through second-grade age range.

“That is currently our priority,” Ransom said.

The 2014-15 school year will see step salary increases for eligible staff.

The school board will be set to approve the proposed budget at 7:30 p.m. June 26. Before being sent to the board for approval, it was reviewed by the budget committee, comprised of five members of the community and the school board.

The primary source of revenue for the school district’s $59 million general fund comes from state education funds provided to all Oregon school districts. State funds are used for student instruction, which includes operations, education, supplies, utilities, routine maintenance of buildings and transportation. The general fund does not cover major repairs, renovations and safety improvements for schools.

North Marion School District

North Marion is receiving $1.467 million more this year in revenue, so that means the beginning of restoring programs and positions.

The district’s budget, which was approved by the school board June 9, will bring back 6.5 licensed teaching positions. The budget also shows the addition of a full-time instructional assistant and an administrator. According to Superintendent Boyd Keyser’s budget message, the budget will also allow for improvements in building and department budgets and some technology upgrades.

The budget was approved by the budget committee before the election results of the district’s local option levy were made clear. Since the levy did not pass, it’s one less thing the district has to rely on, at least for now.

Mount Angel School District

Mount Angel schools will see a noticeable turnaround next year, with the restoration of days, positions and programs.

The district will receive $838,271 more for the 2014-15 fiscal year, giving it an opportunity to finally bring back instead of take away, which has been the trend of the last five years.

The district plans to restore four furlough days, returning the district to a full calendar year of school; restoring coach stipends from 75 to 100 percent; adding nearly 3.5 full-time licensed employees to fill spots in first grade, middle school art, special education, band, essential skills, music and business; one classified position; additional maintenance services; increasing substitute salaries; addition of $60,000 toward curriculum adoption and $30,000 for staff development.

Additionally, all staff will receive a cost of living increase of 1.5 percent.

“We are extremely fortunate to be on track to restoring essential programs and services, and addressing the accountability for the increasing student growth and achievement while improving internal efficiencies,” Superintendent Troy Stoops wrote in his budget message.

He added that much of this was helped along by the passage of a general obligation bond in November 2013.

“I want to thank the Mount Angel School District Board and staff, and the entire Mount Angel community for their support and faith in their schools,” Stoops continued. “Their support is what makes Mount Angel School (District) such a great place to live, work, teach and learn.”

Gervais School District

Unlike its neighboring districts, Gervais is actually seeing a reduction in force instead of an addition. Due to a three-year trend of dropping enrollment — a loss of 40 students — the district received only $52,000 more this year than last year from the state. Federal dollars were also reduced by nearly $400,000, due in part to the end of an after-school grant.

As a result, the budget for the 2014-15 shows the elimination of five positions, two licensed and three classified. The two teachers, one at the middle school and one at the elementary school, had to be laid off, while the classified positions were vacated during the year and simply won’t be refilled. The classified positions include a 6-12 office position and two instructional assistants.

“We’ve been able to make gradual decreases with no furlough days (in the past few years,” said business manager Melissa Wolfer. “So that’s given us more of a luxury to maintain a certain level of service. Now, we’re in the process of making sure we’re living in our revenue without cutting into our savings. I want to see what the next biennium brings and make decisions based on that.”



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  • 21 Oct 2014

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  • 22 Oct 2014

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