The Lake Oswego School Board considered ways to keep the district in the black at a meeting Monday night.

In an effort “to better reflect current financial conditions, especially expected per-pupil average state funding,” Finance Director Stuart Ketzler recommended increasing the district’s 2013-14 tuition rate from $6,500 to $7,000 for grades one through 12 and from $3,250 to $3,500 for kindergarten.

Monthly fees for enrollment in the district’s full-day kindergarten program would be $375, an increase of $25 per month over the current $350 monthly full-day kindergarten fee in addition to a continued nonrefundable deposit rate of $125.

With what he called “a big fat ‘no,’” Bob Barman was the sole dissenting vote in a board motion approving this tuition increase, the first since the 2005-06 school year, when the district’s tuition rate increased from $6,303.

Barman later said he had feared that by raising tuition, parents might be discouraged from sending their kids to LOSD schools.

It is district policy that families residing outside Lake Oswego School District boundaries who wish to enroll a student in LOSD but do not have an approved interdistrict transfer agreement from their resident school district may request to pay tuition. Students who are residents of the city of Lake Oswego but are not residents of the district pay half the tuition amount.

According to LOSD Director of Communications Nancy Duin, “under Oregon’s new open enrollment law, school districts may choose to accept transfer students without first receiving approval from the student’s home district. Each spring, school districts determine the number of open enrollment slots that will be available for the following school year. Students accepted via open enrollment are then considered resident students and the district receives their per-pupil state funding allocation. Last year, as part of its open enrollment decisions, LOSD accepted all students who were already enrolled in LOSD schools as inter-district transfer or tuition students.”

Students from the northern part of Lake Oswego located in the Portland school district and from a portion of West Linn-Wilsonville School District in Stafford and adjacent to Lake Oswego’s southern border are also permitted to transfer to LOSD, bringing their state funding with them.

The school board and district administration hope that the newly approved tuition increase will help stave off a budget deficit projected for fiscal year 2014-15. But district officials have said that it does not look at the prospect of enrolling new students as a purely financial gain.

At the Monday meeting, the board also heard a presentation from City Manager David Donaldson, city Development Project Manager Sidaro Sin and consultant Elaine Howard on the current evolution of the Foothills redevelopment plan. They said the plan would establish an urban renewal area that could provide assistance in the development of affordable housing, which in turn might attract young families who could not otherwise afford to live in Lake Oswego.

Ultimately, said board chairman John Wendland via email, “We support the city’s efforts to plan and design any area within the city of Lake Oswego for residential development, including Foothills, to encourage more school-age children to live in Lake Oswego.”

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