Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
FIRST-graders Marcos Castillo, right, Adalyn Smith, center, and Kyler Zorza enjoy 80-degree weather and the school year’s first outdoor lunch at Westside Elementary School on Thursday. Less warm and sunny is the fiscal forecast for Hood River schools, where budget cuts must be made to staffing and programs in 2017-18. Revenue declines and cost increases will likely lead to more drastic reductions over the next six years. Revenue impacts also could include reduced federal funding for services including nutrition programs. Total food service expenditures will drop from $2.15 million to $2.13 million next year.
As of Friday, May 5, 2017
An uncertain state funding situation did not deter the budget committee of the Hood River County School District from moving forward for 2017-18.
The committee approved a budget that includes $79 million in capital expenditures from the 2015 bond passage, paying for extensive upgrades and improvements at most schools, and a $44,359,690 general fund.
The proposed budget is predicated on the Legislature allotting $8.1 billion for K-12 education, which is Gov. Kate Brown’s proposal. Maintaining current service levels would require an $8.4 billion budget, but the Legislature is currently looking at a $7.8 billion budget.
The budget and levy adoption now goes to the School Board for full approval at its June 14 meeting. Revenue includes $10.25 million in property taxes and $27,704,396 in State School Funding — down from $27,914,640 in the current school year.
Superintendent Dan Goldman presented the budget, which will require reduction of five full-time positions, between licensed and classified staff; those position cuts will be announced later. The district must also cut $476,000 in maintenance and repairs, high school athletics, textbooks, technology, field trips, and other expenses.
Budget adoption happened via pair of motions: one for the 2017-18 budget itself and the other for the continuation of the Local Option Levy rate of $1.25 per $1,000 assessed valuation. District officials stressed Wednesday that capital bond funds cannot be used for operations.
Board Chairman Mark Johnson, the Dist. 52 House Representative, said the district was justified in moving ahead with the budget as proposed.