Districts can't base budgets on wishful thinking
- Independent staff
- Woodburn Independent - Opinion
There is still much uncertainty with respect to how much the Woodburn School District has to budget for the 2013-14 school year.
Part of that is due to a legislative process that cut $200 million from the amount districts around the state had to spend on their PERS benefits for employees.
We find it interesting that the very group whose members would stand to benefit from extra district funding the Oregon Education Association is suing for this very reason.
Yet, OEA and its local arm, the Woodburn Education Association, want the district to calculate its salary increases with the extra spending power in mind.
The district is in a no-win position with the union.
If it fully restores teacher salaries, the district may not have enough money at the end of the year and would be accused of being profligate and could later bankrupt the district. If not, it would be accused of hoarding money.
We hear the argument that we would like to see government act more like business. No business would base its budget on wishful thinking.
Instead of caving to union demands, the district has wisely decided to take the conservative, wait-and-see approach. But it also has managed to meet a full list of priorities that includes increasing teacher salaries.
In this case, as much as we would like to see hard-working teachers get their just rewards, it makes sense to wait and see how the courts decide.
Additionally, Mondays special session could bring as much as $100 million more funding to schools.
During this tough economy, teachers have borne their share of hardship, taking on additional responsibilities. But they have not been alone. It seems across the board, workers are taking it on the chin both in stagnant wages and additional duties. As we start to see daylight on the economy, we are hopeful that teachers will eventually get their just rewards and we will be watching to make sure the district adjusts its budget accordingly when the time is right. But for now, it is better to wait.