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Corbett athletics to suffer budget cuts

All middle school, junior varsity coaches' salaries will be cut next year

Athletic programs are the most likely victims of budget cuts in the Corbett School District, but it could have been much worse, said Superintendent Bob Dunton.

'We've managed to save the varsity athletics,' Dunton said.

However, the district will likely cut all middle school and junior varsity coaches from next year's budget.

Considering that the district had faced a $500,000 shortfall thanks to the loss of a county income tax and the defeat of a local levy option, the 2006-07 budget going before school board members tonight is surprisingly void of cuts.

A few factors saved the district from massive cuts this year, but Dunton said Corbett schools would have to face the music next year.

'The best case scenario is that the number Gov. (Ted) Kulongoski is quoting, $6.2 billion, passes,' Dunton said.

That level of state funding would give Corbett schools an additional $150,000 for the 2007-08 school year, but the district would still face a $350,000 shortfall, which means programs would get cut.

Corbett schools, which serve 800 students, already operate on bare bones. Three years ago the district had 12 administrative positions. Today there are six.

The district has no middle school principal, no counselors, no secretaries for the high school principal and budget cuts have forced Corbett to 'absorb' the elementary school principal position - when the elementary principal retires at the end of 2006, the district will not hire another.

'We're so thin in administration … it's an experiment whether this will even work,' Dunton said.

The district had some wiggle room this year after state adjustments to the biennium budget gave Corbett schools about $90,000 in additional revenue. Then the county commissioners agreed to help county schools and added roughly $40,000 to the district's general fund. Another $40,000 from uncollected county income taxes is expected and then there are the Center for Advanced Learning shares.

The district plans to sell half its slots to the Gresham-Barlow School Districts, for one-time revenue of $300,000.

'Even if we sell half our slots, we still have more slots than we need,' Dunton said.

The district bought 60 slots at the Gresham-based center four years ago for $600,000, but Corbett students have never used that many.

'I believe we have two students enrolled next year at CAL' Dunton said.

All combined, the one-time revenues helped the district avoid the $500,000 in cuts it faced after the I-tax expired and voters crushed the local levy option.

The shortfall will rear its head again next year, and Dunton fears the district will have no choice but to cut valuable programs, which means cutting teaching positions.

'I don't think this will be quite real to people until the program get cut,' Dunton said.