District 55 explores local

Sean C. Morgan

District 55 Schools Supt. Larry Horton is gathering information about local option levies for the School Board.

“All we’re doing is gathering information at this time,” Supt. Horton said. During the regular board meeting on March 14, he explained that board member Dave VanDerlip had brought the subject up before.

He provided some information to the board that night. He is gathering more information from the tax assessor’s office, then he will send the information on to the Oregon Department of Education where he will learn more precisely what the district could expect out of a levy.

The levy would be subject to the $5 limitation on education for property taxes, Supt. Horton said. Based on information from the assessor, the district could pass a levy for up to 75 cents per $1,000 of valuation. That would generate an estimated $400,000 in revenues for the district, but the district would collect only about $200,000.

The revenues would be subject to the state’s equalization formula, and the state would backfill some of the revenue, Supt. Horton said. That amount is the information he is seeking through the Department of Education.

“As we get ready to go into negotiations and we get ready to develop our budget, as we look at potential reductions, is this something we should pursue?” Supt. Horton asked. With the information in hand, the board can make that decision.

If it will net the district $10,000 or $20,000, it probably is nor worth pursuing, Supt. Horton said. If it is several hundred thousand dollars, it might be worth looking at .

Supt. Horton said he is “pretty sure” the district will need to reduce its staffing by one teacher through attrition next year. The reduction would keep pace with enrollment.

The district’s budget meetings begin on April 25.