Superintendent Goldman will hold the second of two “listening sessions” on the district budget, Tuesday, Feb. 17 at Wy’east Middle School from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Goldman will give a short presentation and take input from community members. Spanish translation will be provided at each forum.
As of Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Update 2/17: Superintendent Goldman will hold the second of two “listening sessions” on the district budget, Tuesday, Feb. 17 at Wy’east Middle School from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Goldman will give a short presentation and take input from community members. Spanish translation will be provided at each forum.
A cold million.
That’s how much less the Hood River County School District can expect to receive in State School funding in the next biennium, based on current spending projections out of the Oregon Legislature.
In statements to the Hood River County School Board Monday, Superintendent Dan Goldman said he was “really disappointed” at the forecast, adding that it appears he will need to go back on his statement to the board in its last meeting that there would be “no district budget cuts for the first time in a decade.”
The latest state budget framework currently presented to the Legislature, now in session in Salem, is for $7.235 billion in school spending over the 2015-17 biennium.
Goldman said he will be in Salem Feb. 19 to lobby for increasing the education budget to $7.5 billion, which Goldman said is the bare minimum needed by schools statewide. “We are barely treading water as it is,” he said.
Meanwhile, the one school board member absent Wednesday was making the case at the capitol for increasing post-secondary spending. Mark Johnson, the State House District 52 representative in Salem, said Thursday. “The high cost of textbooks is pricing students out of a college education. We’ve seen study after study on how to reduce the costs of textbooks by creating open-source opportunities,” according to a statement from his office. “It’s time to put the studies aside and take some action. I will be working hard this session to find innovative ways to reduce these kinds of costs for students, which will help them stretch their limited funds and ultimately support their post-secondary success.”
Johnson spoke to more than 500 Oregon students on the steps of the Capitol building as various higher education associations and advocates called for increased investment in post-secondary education. As the longest serving member on the House Higher Education Committee,Johnson outlined specific areas legislators will focus on this session to reduce costs for students.
The $7.235 billion, according to Goldman, includes funding statewide for all districts to offer full-day kindergarten (which HRCSD has done for years). That will mean an estimated statewide increase of 25,000 students, and possibly as many as 28,000, up from an initial estimate of 17,000 more, meaning districts will each receive less funding. “We’re sharing a pie that’s of fixed size,” Goldman said. “As the input goes up, you get less per student.”
And the result for HRCSD will be “about a million dollars, as of right now,” Goldman told the board.
In Salem, Goldman will meet with Sen. Richard Devlin, chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee.
“The $7.5 billion is what we need to tread water. We’ve been treading water for a really long time,” he said, calling the past decade of school funding “paltry.” He cited Oregon’s 49th place among the 50 states in overall school spending, and 50th place in the amount of instructional time provided.
“And we’re all getting less and less of the pie,” he said. “This is a continuing trend. It’s discouraging to say the least. It seems certain that this will be a tough spring for us,” he said. The district’s first budget committee meeting will be April 6.
Rep. Johnson pointed out the irony that, as a state, Oregon collegiate athletic teams compete at the national level yet the state ranks 47th in post-secondary funding. He called on the Legislature to do more to correct this irony, and to give students the support they need to succeed.
The “Restore the Cuts” Rally was sponsored by Oregon Community College Association, Oregon Student Association, Oregon’s public universities, SEIU, American Association of University Professors, and American Federation of Teachers.