Schools may have to cut $2.7 million
Forest Grove's 2013-14 budget prep under way; reductions unlikely to affect calendar days
If all the variables play out the way they look at the present moment and that's a big if the Forest Grove School Board will likely face $2.7 million in cuts in order to balance the district's 2013-14 budget.
Business Manager Mike Schofield told board members Monday night he and the budget committee will weigh "lots of factors" before fine-tuning next year's budget in time for a state submission deadline June 30.
"My hope is that the $2.7 million is our worst-case scenario," said Schofield.
This year the district pared $3.1 million from its budget, and in 2011-12 it sliced $7.5 million. Schofield said there are no additional planned reductions between now and the end of the 2012-13 school year.
"We are on track to finish in the black" by about $1.9 million, noted Schofield, about $362,000 more than expected. "We're going to spend a little less than I thought," he said.
Meets in March
The budget committee, which begins meeting in earnest in March, will work with certain "assumptions" as it collaborates with district administrators on a proposed biennial budget in the $50.2 million range for 2013-14 and $51.2 million for 2014-15, Schofield noted. Those include:
Revenue based on Gov. John Kitzhaber's proposed $16.5 billion biennial budget for K-12 education;
A reduction in the projected increase of funds the district will need to come up with in Public Employees Retirement System payments; and
An expected enrollment drop of 80 to 100 students in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Enrollment projections are a key to accurate budget projections, Schofield told the board. This school year has seen a drop of about 70 students district-wide. Every full-time student is worth about $6,000 in state revenue to the district, which currently enrolls just under 5,700 pupils.
A demographic study commissioned by the district at Portland State University is due out this spring, in time for putting final touches on next year's budget document.
Budget committee members which include all five of the current school board members plan to hold meetings with district staff and the community during April and May before Superintendent Yvonne Curtis delivers her annual budget message on May 9.
Monitoring developments during the current legislative session in Salem is critical to putting the puzzle pieces together, said Schofield.
"This is a look first peek at the next biennium. It's what we'd have if we had to create the budget today," he added. "The good news is, we have about three months to get it done."
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