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Survey says cut school days at Reynolds

Four-day school week another suggestion for district

In order to balance its 2011-12 budget, the Reynolds School District should cut five to 10 school days and consider instituting a four-day school week, according to 52 percent of district residents and employees.

The district should also consider eliminating 'pull-out' classes for Talented and Gifted (TAG) elementary students, 63 percent said. The district would still provide such children TAG services through a lower-cost model under discussion.

The district could delay purchasing new science textbooks for one year, 75 percent of survey respondents said.

Respondents - 66 percent - also agreed the district should consider contracting out some support services to the private sector.

Andrea Watson, district spokeswoman, said the administration has no plans to hire any private contractors for such services at this time, and the decision to do so will be the subject of more discussion between the board and administration.

ReynoldsTomorrow

The 929 residents responded to a recently concluded online survey, called ReynoldsTomorrow. The survey asked participants what budget priorities the district should have next year.

During the past five years district revenues have fallen more than $7 million, from $98.6 million to about $91.5 million in 2009-10.

The district expects to lose at least $4 million in state funding for 2011-12. Watson said that figure could change depending on enrollment figures and the outcome of the state budgeting process.

Meanwhile, the district estimates its payroll costs will increase almost 10.5 percent next year, primarily due to an increase in the district's contribution to the state's Public Employees Retirement System, or PERS, Watson said.

Survey results were presented to the school board at a March 30 workshop.

'We now have clear guidelines on some key questions, and a basis for a more detailed discussion with our citizens as we move forward,' Superintendent Joyce Henstrand said.

Breakdown

Of the respondents, 75 percent were parents and 25 percent were not.

One percent was students, 69 percent were female and 31 percent were male.

On average, the respondents were 45 years old, with 36 percent between the ages of 35 and 44 and 26 percent between 45 and 55.

Eighty-five percent were community members and 15 percent were current or former district employees.

Complete survey results are posted at ReynoldsTomorrow.com.

The school board must adopt a budget for 2011-12 by the end of June.

Savings made

The district has already made moves to save $1.17 million by changing its business and human resources software package and service contractor, cutting its energy costs through more efficient energy use and refinancing the general fund debt obligations as the interest rate dropped, Watson said.

The superintendent has requested board approval to move forward with other changes including reducing the number of bus stops - saving $50,000 - and reducing spending on special education and English language learning services through reorganization, Watson said.

Meanwhile, the district would save $360,000 by having middle school begin first, followed by high school, and having two staggered start times for elementary schools. Such a move would mean fewer buses serving longer routes, Watson said.

Meeting

• The Reynolds School District Budget Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28, at Reynolds High School, 1698 S.W. Cherry Park Road, Troutdale.

For more information, visit reynolds.k12.or.us/.