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Proposed Scappoose schools budget includes new teachers, facility work

Committee waits on approval until after it holds public hearing


SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Michelle Graham speaks during a meeting of the Scappoose School District's budget committee on Wednesday, April 15.There will be a public hearing on Wednesday, May 6, on the draft budget for next school year in the Scappoose School District.

The budget, as proposed, includes $200,000 for teaching positions to accommodate full-day kindergarten, which the district will offer next year under a new state mandate. It would also add part-time drama and arts teachers at Scappoose High School, as well as a dean of students.

Counseling, physical education and administrative staff hours would also be increased at Warren Elementary School under the proposed budget.

It also contains funds for, among other capital projects, resurfacing the gymnasium floor at Warren Elementary, replacing the public announcement system at Grant Watts Elementary School and replacing the library carpet at Scappoose High.

All told, according to district business manager Mitch Neilson, the draft budget totals about $25.5 million, including one-time funds for facility upgrades.

“We have currently about $271,000 in non-renewing money for capital improvements,” Jeff Mapes, a budget committee member, pointed out. “And we are spending about $100,000 out of it. So that’s a significant chunk. And perhaps the board’s in a better spot to have a sense of how aggressive you want to be on spending down non-renewing money that, in part, is your rainy-day [fund].”

A couple of school board members at the meeting did address Mapes’ point, with Joe Lewis noting that the district is on track to increase the amount of money going toward its contingency fund next year as well.

“I think your point’s well taken, but I think we’re in a position now,” board Chairman Will Kessi added. “And this stuff needs to be fixed.”

Although there were no real objections to the draft budget expressed at the meeting, and the agenda included an item for approval of the budget, the committee elected to hold off on making its recommendation to the school board until after it receives public input next month.

The May 6 public hearing will start at 6:30 p.m., in the district office on Southwest High School Way. The committee is expected to vote on approval of the budget after hearing public comments on the proposal.

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