Superintendent Kym LeBlanc-Esparza optimistic district will not have to cut three school days in 2017-2018

The Newberg School District board of directors unanimously approved a $76.6 million budget for the 2017-2018 school year at its June 13 meeting, and Superintendent Kym LeBlanc-Esparza said she believes the outlook may be rosier than when the document was first crafted.

The budget includes a cut of three school days, but in presenting some modifications to the district's 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 calendars, LeBlanc-Esparza revealed that she is now optimistic about state funding and that those days will ultimately be restored. LeBlanc-Esparza

LeBlanc-Esparza put forward calendars that now include conference and professional development days, but noted that she had not yet selected which three school days would be cut.

"At this point, there is reason to be optimistic and think we might not need to do that, depending on how the state lands on what they're budget's going to be," LeBlanc- Esparza said. "So we're going to hold on that for a little while and wait to make that decision, but the conference dates we needed to set so the parents could see them."

LeBlanc-Esparza also credited the calendar committee's approach in identifying when to hold parent-teacher conference days, especially.

"We had an in-depth conversation about the parent feedback that we got and with our administrators about where is the most advantageous time to have conversations with parents so that we have data to share with them," LeBlanc- Esparza said. "So we modified it just slightly."

The 2017-2018 budget featured a total of $2.12 million in unappropriated and reserve amounts across all funds, including $2 million within the general fund, which represents further progress in the district's effort in recent years to raise its ending fund balance to healthy levels.

The board also approved a motion to re-appropriate a total of $943,000 within two funds to account for higher than expected expenditures during the current school year. That included $743,000 within the general fund to cover some unexpected maintenance and support services costs that outgoing finance director Gwen Gardner said were mostly related to HVAC. The motion also included moving a total of $200,000 within the capital projects fund, $190,000 of which was to cover expanded costs for textbook adoption.

In approving the consent agenda, the board approved three new administrative hires, all three of whom are parents of students in the district.

That includes: former district employee and current Oregon City alternative high school principal Tim Graham, who will replace Bill Rogers as principal of the Catalyst program; Forest Grove High School assistant principal Tami Erion, who will replace Alaina Carter as the curriculum/instruction assistant principal at Newberg High School; and Canby School District communications coordinator Autumn Foster, who will take the same position in Newberg to succeed Claudia Stewart, who is retiring after years.

"We've got parents from our school district who have chosen to join our team," LeBlanc-Esparza said. "They're coming back home, so that's a great thing for us."

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