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School budget would restore five-day week, add elementary PE teachers

 

May 16, 2017



Sweet Home School District’s proposed budget will add nearly three elementary school PE teachers and one additional elementary level teaching position compared to this school year.

Supt. Tom Yahraes presented the budget proposal to the district’s Budget Committee Monday evening.

A total of 2.75 full-time equivalents, the PE positions will be used to meet a deadline set by the state in 2007 to increase PE instruction.

Those positions are offset by a reduction of three positions at Sweet Home High School, Yahraes said.

At the beginning of the current school year, after completion of the current budget, the school district boosted its elementary teaching staff by two positions to handle unanticipated enrollment increases at Holley and Foster schools. Those positions, along with one more planned at Oak Heights, have been included in the proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year.

Administration will increase by a total of .5 full-time equivalent positions as part-time Holley Principal Todd Barrett becomes head of the district’s Title I program. He will succeed Connie May, who has been working .3 FTE on a contract basis since her retirement. Barrett has been splitting his time between his principal position and a Title I teaching position.

With these changes, the total amount of staffing will increase from 257.7 FTE to 284.9

The bulk of the change is in classified positions, which are proposed to increase from 120.7 FTE to 144. Classified employees provide support services for the district and include classroom assistants, secretaries, bus drivers,

Business Manager Kevin Strong explained that moving to a five-day week will increase the total full-time positions as classified employees work an additional day each week.

An employee working 7.5 hours per day, Strong said, works 30 hours during the current four-day week, a .75 FTE position. That same employee working the same daily hours under next school year’s five-day schedule will work a 37.5-hour week and be counted as a full-time equivalent.

The cost of adding back 25 instructional days in a five-day week is offset by proposing a 155-student cap at the Sweet Home Charter School, Yahraes said. Its current enrollment is 135.

Its current enrollment cap is 252 kindergarten through sixth grade. Its contract allows it up to an additional 36 seventh- and eighth-grade students.

Counting all funds, Yahraes proposed a $42.1 million budget for 2017-18, up from $36.6 million this year.

Reflecting nearly half of that increase, the budget includes $2.9 million in funding from four state seismic grants for the Sweet Home High School auditorium, $1.4 million, and $500,000 grants for Foster, Hawthorne and Holley school.

“We continue to look under every rock to find grants that will make our schools safer and more secure and extend their lifespan,” Yahraes said. “Our goal is to improve our school facilities without burdening the community with a higher tax rate.”

The district’s General Fund will increase from $22.7 million to $24.1 million.

The district will spend down its General Fund reserves to meet requirements for 2017-18.

Strong is projecting that the district will finish the 2016-17 budget year with $2.3 million, about 9.5 percent of the budget for 2017-18 and $1.2 million more than budgeted for 2016-17.

The proposed budget will reduce that amount, the General Fund’s “planned reserve” – or ending fund balance – to $1.5 million, 6 percent of the General Fund in 2017-18, which is still $400,000 larger than the budgeted planned reserve for the 2016-17 school year.

The planned reserve for 2016-17 is so much larger because enrollment at the Sweet Home Charter School was lower than the district projected, Strong said. The district budgeted $1.3 million for the Charter School but with a smaller enrollment, the district will pay between $850,000 to $875,000 this year.

The district also received a little more local option levy revenues than it anticipated and saved money in a few other areas, Strong said.

General Fund revenue from property taxes is expected to increase from $4.1 million to $4.35 million in 2017-18, and state funding is expected to increase from $15.8 million to $16.3 million.

“Despite Oregon’s overall strong, sustained economic growth, additional lottery revenue, historic low unemployment, the rebound of the housing and construction market, as of the date of this report, the co-chairs of the Joint Ways and Means Committee reports $7.8 billion is the best the state can do,” Yahraes told the Budget Committee in the superintendent’s annual budget message. “It is my position that this funding is desperately inadequate if we want to fully invest in our students by adding more programming – music, art, language, technical education – and modernize our learning labs, materials and facilities while affording competitive salaries and benefits in order to recruit and retain exceptional staff.”

Gov. Kate Brown has proposed an $8.02 billion K-12 budget for the upcoming biennium, Yahraes said. The proposed 2017-18 budget is built based on that estimate and a modest enrollment growth due to new residential construction in the area.

The Budget Committee will meet next at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Board Room, 1900 Long St. The committee may approve the budget that evening. Following approval, the budget moves to the School Board, which will hold a public hearing and then adopt a budget. The board must adopt a budget by June 30. The new budget takes effect July 1.

Present at the meeting Monday evening were Chanz Keeney, Jenny Daniels, Debra Brown, Carol Babcock, Mike E. Adams, Mike Reynolds, Jocelyn Gordon, Ben Emmert, Don Hopkins and Miriam Hooley. Absent were Angela Clegg, Jason Van Eck, Jason Redick and Brittany Donnell.

The committee elected Hopkins chairman and Daniels secretary.

The budget document is available to view online. To reach it, visit sweethome.k12.or.us, click on departments, click on business office and accounting services. A pdf version of the document is available below contact information.

The full link is http://www.sweethome.k12.or.us/departments/business/documents/2017_2018_budget.pdf.

 
 

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