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Budget numbers up in air

Forest Grove officials project $1 million to $3 million in cuts for 2013-14


As school districts all over the state begin to prepare budgets for the 2013-14 school year, one thing is clear: nothing is set in stone.

The budget process begins in earnest for the Forest Grove School District in March, when district business manager Mike Schofield and other administrators will hold more than 40 meetings with district staff and the public. The district’s budget committee will convene for the first time on March 11.

“The one thing I know for sure is that things will change,” Schofield said, who predicts $1 million to $3 million in cuts to next year's budget.

Building a school budget entails a great deal of guesswork, particularly in the first year of the 2013-15 state budget biennium.

Schofield will monitor legislative developments closely, with an eye toward the release of a proposed budget by State Budget Committee co-chairs Sen. Richard Devlin (D-Tualatin) and Rep. Peter Buckley (R-Ashland), due out in mid-March.

“That’s key,” he told the Forest Grove School Board Monday night, to building the district’s budget.

A demographic study underway by Portland State University is also due out in March. That study, Schofield said, will help the district project enrollment next year and into the future.

Another question mark in the budgeting process, Schofield said, is how federal across-the-board budget cuts, if sequestration kicks in March 1, will affect school districts. A cut in federal spending will affect the district's federally funded Title programs.

The district has budget information on its website, fgsd.k12.or.us, including meeting dates and a place to submit questions and recommendations.

Superintendent Yvonne Curtis will present the 2013-14 budget message May 9 and the budget is scheduled for adoption on June 10.



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