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WL-WV School Board receives proposed budget

2014-15 budget proposal allows for 16 additional teachers


RhoadesWest Linn-Wilsonville School Board Chairman Keith Steele laid aside his gavel during the board’s May meeting to allow the district’s budget committee to convene. The budget committee’s first order of business was to elect a chairman of its own.

Committee member Jeff Hallin, a budget veteran, was nominated and elected without opposition at the May 5 session.

Hallin quickly turned the committee meeting over to the district’s business manager, Doug Middlestetter, who provided an overview of the committee’s work to date. Middlestetter shared the news that the district is expected the end the 2013-14 school year with an fund balance of $1.5 million. WL-WV holds reserves only as a contingency fund, and the predicted ending fund balance is consistent with common practice. Still, the projected reserve is higher than in recent years.

“I think we’re talking about a bigger number for reserves than we’ve seen in a long time,” Middlestetter said.

Superintendent Bill Rhoades read aloud the district’s official budget message.

“Tonight I have the pleasure of presenting my third budget message as superintendent of the West Linn-Wilsonville School District,” he read, “and I bring to you a proposal that represents my first opportunity to propose strategic investments that go beyond just holding even.”

The committee submitted to the board a proposed budget of approximately $81.5 million. That budget is based on revenue assumptions that include:

n A $6.85 billion state budget for education;

n Increased per-pupil funding and increased per-pupil allocation of state school funding

n Local option fee increase of $175,000 over last year

n An enrollment increase of 100 students

n Redistribution of regional ESD funds and services

n Reinvestment of ending fund balance

Rhoades listed expense assumptions including:

n $3.3 million in additional wages and benefits from current operating levels

n Increased investment in teacher support, professional development and curriculum in response to revised state standards

n Increased costs for deferred maintenance, repairs and purchased services as the current capital improvement bond closes at the end of the school year

n Rising costs for utilities, materials, supplies and purchased services

n Increased emphasis on building reserves in the face of uncertainty regarding bond and local option revenue

The proposed budget includes funding for a full academic year and schedules and not only sustains current staffing levels but also allows for an additional 16 full-time equivalents. The district added a total of 29 FTE this school year in an effort to reduce class sizes and provide necessary support.

Hallin reminded the budget committee of its goals in presenting the proposed budget to the school board.

“The process is that we don’t deliberate or debate tonight,” he said. “Our goal is that this budget is approved by the committee and ready to present to the school board at their June meeting.”

The next steps in the budget process include a May 19 meeting that includes the only opportunity for public comment. That meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the district office building, 22210 SW Stafford Road. A May 29 meeting could occur if the school board needs more information from the committee.

The school board is expected to receive and approve the final budget document at its June 9 meeting.

Also at the May 5 meeting, the district’s director of operations, Tim Woodley, provided a brief update of the district’s bond situation and long-range planning.

The district recently conducted opinion polling regarding public support for a potential bond measure. Woodley said preliminary results of that polling would be presented to the board at its May 19 work session.

“It was very positive,” he said.

Woodley also asked the school board to approve a contract for one of the last projects remaining on the list of capital improvements funded by the 2008 bond. He recommended the board award a contract worth $589,969 to Sprinturf LLC, for the replacement of the turf fields at both West Linn and Wilsonville high schools.

Board member Rob Fernandez raised questions about the Sprinturf bid, which was the lowest received in a competitive bidding process.

“Looking at it from an investment standpoint and safety, there might be products that are a better match,” he said.

Woodley told the board that the product Sprinturf will install has been successfully used at other district sites, including the softball field at Rosemont Ridge Middle School, the baseball fields at West Linn High School and the turf field at Wilsonville High School. It has a life expectancy and warranty of eight years, he said, although it usually lasts about 10 years.

“I don’t have any hesitation in making this recommendation for the district,” Woodley said.

The board approved the contract, with all but Fernandez voting yes. The work is expected to begin at West Linn June 2 and at Wilsonville June 9, with a contractual completion date for both fields of August 1.


By Kate Hoots
Education reporter
503-636-1281, ext. 112
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