LOSD budget includes more teachers
Revenue boost for 2016-17 will also allow district to invest in new curriculum and upgrade technology
A larger 2016-17 budget will allow the Lake Oswego School District to hire additional teachers, invest in new curriculum materials and upgrade some computers, but it won't solve the problem of hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance at district buildings.
That's the message contained in a recommended budget discussed this week at a public hearing held by the Lake Oswego School Board, which is now scheduled to vote Monday on the financial plan. No one from the public nor the board made suggestions at the hearing, although the board may make adjustments before giving its final approval.
General fund revenue is expected to total $80.4 million in 2016-17, according to an overview in the budget document written by Superintendent Heather Beck and Executive Director of Finance Stuart Ketzler. That's about $6 million more than last year and $16 million more than in 2012-13.
The reasons for higher revenue include a bump in the districts local option property tax revenues and a slight increase in state funding, Beck and Ketzler said. About 85 percent of the districts funding comes from the state, which pulls dollars from income taxes. In 1990, Measure 5 capped how much schools can receive from property taxes.
With school funding now derived primarily from state income taxes, education funding has become more volatile, the budget message says. School funding fell precipitously following the 2002 Dot.Com Bubble recession, and again in the wake of the 2008 Great Recession.
The proposed budget marks the third consecutive year that the district has been able to not only maintain services but make investments in additional staff and resources. In the previous two fiscal years, the district added positions and eliminated mandated, unpaid days for all employees, including administrators.
Additions proposed for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which begins July 1, include:
Three additional teaching positions at the high schools in response to a state requirement to boost students seat time from 80 to 85 percent;
Two at-large Teachers on Special Assignment, likely housed at central administration, who will work to enhance technology in an effort to make other teachers more efficient and to implement a new set of standards called Next Generation Science Standards, along with related curriculum;
An additional half-time Response to Intervention teacher, which would allow the district to have a full-time teacher on hand at each high school to offer extra help to any student who needs it in any subject, even for advanced classes;
Investments in world language curriculum materials; and
Upgrades to computers for classified staff members.
Other than the targeted investments, the proposed 2016-17 budget is largely status quo," the budget message says, "with increases in certain costs, primarily a 2-percent cost-of-living increase in salaries and wages as per the recent, one-year contract extensions with (the teachers and classified unions)."
The budget also makes reference to a general obligation bond measure that is likely to be referred to voters in November to address deferred maintenance in school buildings. On Monday, the board will hold a public hearing on a resolution containing two final project lists proposed by the district's Bond Development Committee.
This week, the board heard a presentation on the bond proposals, which include a $245 million Plan B, with projects such as replacing Lakeridge Junior High and upgrading Lake Oswego Junior Highs gym; and a $297 million Plan A, which involves projects such as replacing both junior highs. The district also could propose an evergreen bond, which could be renewed in a few years and include different projects.
School board member John Wendland said he could see at least another couple hundred million dollars in facilities projects that schools need.
Its a significant amount of money, but its really a down payment, he said.
Karina Ruiz, a presenter at this week's meeting, said she saw it a little differently. Ruiz is a principal at the architectural firm hired by the district for the bond process, Dull Olson Weekes-IBI Group Architects Inc.
I think of this as the first step in a journey, she said.
IF YOU GO
What: Public hearing on the Bond Development Committee's final two project lists for a potential ballot measure
When: 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 13
Where: Lake Oswego School District Administration Building, 2455 Country Club Road
How to comment: Community members are encouraged to share their ideas before the public hearing. Visit edline.net/pages/Lake_Oswego_School_District for contact details or call 503-534-2300.