Following staff cuts last year, the Scappoose School District doesn’t anticipate any cuts this year.

The district plans to maintain its staffing levels as well as its current calendar.

Jupe“We’re calling this a status quo budget,” said Superintendent Stephen Jupe who, along with Business Manager Mary Crum, presented the official proposed budget document to the school district’s Budget Committee April 10. The budget document outlines estimated revenues and expenditures for all SSD funds beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2014.

The revenue built into Scappoose’s budget aims to relieve recent years of fiscal belt-tightening while maintaining flexibility for the future.

Over the last six years, Scappoose high school has lost eight teaching positions due to budget cuts. Two years ago, the district also had to mandate furlough days and, last year, put a freeze on STEPS, which provides teachers with pay increases based on experience.

This year’s proposed budget allows for programs such as STEPS to be reinstated and will allow for the implementation of a variety of federal, state and district initiatives in order to improve learning services.

One district initiative of particular interest to Jupe is the STAR assessment program. STAR is a software program that tests students in grades K-12 monthly and provides teachers with feedback and teaching strategies specific to each student.

Despite the grim economic climate, Jupe is confident in the district’s ability to operate with a restrictive budget.

“I think the school has done amazingly well with the budget, but that’s not to say that the government shouldn’t fund schools, which it really doesn’t do a good job of,” Jupe said.

Funding for public schools in Oregon has been a hot-button topic as the Legislature overhauls the pending Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) bill, which could potentially free up money to alleviate the state’s underfunded public education system.

Education’s share of the state budget has been on a steady decline over recent years. In 2003-2005, the K-12 state school fund was 44.8 percent of the state budget compared to 39.1 percent in 2011-2012.

“The idea that funding cuts affect children really upsets me,” Jupe said. “When politicians ask what they can do for me I say, ‘Nothing, please stop.’”

The SSD Board of Directors will choose whether or not to adopt the budget during a final meeting and hearing June 10.

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