After making $105 million in budget cutbacks over the past four years, the Beaverton School District is in need of some financial assistance.
Voters in the Nov. 8 election have a chance to provide that monetary help by approving Ballot Measure 34-193 - a five-year local option tax levy that would generate an additional $14 million in revenue for the district each year.
Even with the passage of Measure 34-193, Beaverton schools will be faced with additional budget cuts next year. The money that Beaverton schools receive from the state will be reduced again, by approximately $30 million in the 2012-13 school year, as Oregon continues to see its tax collections dwindle due to the long-running economic downturn.
But approval of this measure, proposed by the volunteer Beaverton School Board, can limit the damage to local schools. It will provide enough money to support the equivalent of 180 teaching positions. The levy would provide funding to help maintain basic academic programs, protect class sizes and retain teaching positions.
Already, Beaverton's classrooms are overcrowded - due to previous budget reductions - with elementary school classrooms regularly seeing 30 or more students.
In response to falling revenues, the School Board and district administrators have left teaching positions unfilled even as enrollment has continued to grow. They have slashed administrative costs, which now equal less than 3 percent of the overall district budget. All district employees have taken furloughs and made other concessions to help the district weather the economic slide.
School district leaders, we believe, have been sensitive to the economic environment in which they are operating. And with this measure, they are not asking for as much money as they possibly could, but are seeking an amount that still will be affordable to the typical homeowner.
If approved, Measure 34-193 would cost property owners an additional $1 per $1,000 of assessed value. For the owner of a $300,000 home that has an assessed value of $217,000, that would amount to $217 per year - or $18 per month.
We believe that is a reasonable investment to make in a quality school system that educates children, enhances the local economy and ultimately boosts the property values for everyone living within the Beaverton School District.
Voters should approve Measure 34-193.