On May 14, 2013, the Sherwood School District Budget Committee met to receive the superintendent’s budget message, hear public testimony and discuss the elements of the budget proposal. The committee unanimously approved the proposed budget and the levy of the District’s permanent rate of $4.8123 per thousand dollars of assessed value and $10,701,218 for debt service.
Two additional Budget Committee meetings, scheduled for May 16 and May 21, have been cancelled. A budget hearing and vote by the Board of Directors to adopt the budget will take place on June 5, 2013. Details and an agenda will be posted on the district’s website.
Co-Chair's Budget Changes Reduction Target:
The long awaited State of Oregon Co-Chairs’ budget was released on March 4, and this is the next step in the process as the legislature works towards finalizing a budget for the next biennium. The legislature will use this budget to ultimately determine the funding level for school districts across the state for the next two years.
The Co-Chairs’ budget, referred to as “Oregon’s Turning Point Budget,” has as its centerpiece a K-12 funding level of $6.550 billion. This is markedly higher than the amount of $6.151 billion proposed back in December by the Governor. Through this proposal, the Co-Chairs are attempting to stem the tide of budget reductions that school districts across the state have experienced for the past several years. This proposal represents an increase of $840 million in K-12 funding over the previous 2011/13 biennium.
In addition to the increased level of funding, the Co-Chairs’ proposal also includes savings from the same two PERS reforms that were included in the Governor’s proposal. Although the reforms do not achieve the same level of savings anticipated by the Governor, they are estimated to save the K-12 system $200 million. The revenue allocation, taken together with the anticipated PERS savings, result in school funding of $6.750 billion for the 2013/15 biennium. We see this as a very purposeful, and meaningful, next step in ultimately creating a funding level that will help support the Governor’s 40-40-20 goal – for 40% of adult Oregonians to hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree, 40% to have an associate’s degree or a meaningful postsecondary certificate, and all adult Oregonians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent by the year 2025.
So what does this mean to Sherwood Schools?
Our reduction estimate for next year using the Governor’s proposal was originally $2.8 million; the Co-Chairs’ budget proposal lowers our reduction target, based on our current assumptions and long range plan, to roughly $1.8 million.
Clearly we still have a significant challenge before us. The District has drawn down its reserves over the past several years in order to help mitigate the loss of programs and soaring class sizes – though we have certainly felt impacts such as those, on our school district.
We shared more information with parents and community members at our April 30 public forum. Please click here to view that presentation. The Superintendent’s 2013-14 Proposed Budget will be presented to the Budget Committee for approval on May 14, 2013.
Governor's Budget Prioritizes Education:
The primary source of revenue for school districts is the State School Fund. Governor Kitzhaber’s 2013-15 budget includes $6.4 billion for K-12 education; this amount is made up of an allocation of $6.15 billion for schools, in addition to $253 million in assumed savings from proposed reforms to PERS, the system for public employee pensions. We believe the Governor’s proposal is a first step in the right direction; he has clearly prioritized education in his budget and has stated that the funding level for the 2013-15 biennium is an initial move towards higher funding in future biennia. That being said, this level of funding will still present challenges for us, as well as numerous other districts around the state. The Governor’s budget, as proposed, would still require Sherwood School District to make significant reductions in order to balance our 2013-14 budget.
We expect the education budget to continue to evolve over the coming months, as the Governor’s proposal is merely a starting point for the Oregon Legislature. While we wait to see what will happen to the State’s budget in the legislature, and to PERS reform efforts, we have already begun analysis and planning of our budget.
So , what do these numbers mean for Sherwood?
For 2013/15, the Governor has proposed K-12 funding at $6.151B and two PERS reforms that would save K-12 another $253M. Sherwood's reduction target for the 2013-14 school year, given this proposed level of funding, is estimated to be $2,819,000.
Without PERS reform, the Governor's proposed level of funding will require the District to set its reduction target at $3,775,000.
2013/14 Budget Reduction Targets at Other Funding Levels:
A funding level of $6.55B would result in a reduction of $2,635,000.
A funding level of $6.75B would result in a reduction of $1,845,000.
A funding level of $6.895B would result in a reduction of $1,318,000.
PERS reform, as proposed by the Governor, at any of these levels would reduce the District’s reduction target by an additional $950,000. This means that at a funding level of $6.895B with PERS reform, our reduction target would be approximately $368,000.
As we proceed through another challenging budget process, our Board and administrative team are being very purposeful about having conversations around “budgeting the plan” -- as opposed to merely “planning the budget.” What this means is that we believe our budget should reflect the priorities that our district has identified, even in challenging times such as these. Specifically, by melding the focus areas within our district’s Achievement Compact (identified by a diverse committee of administrators, teachers and classified staff), along with our continued efforts around an effective transition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Proficiency-Based Teaching & Learning, and Instructional Technology, we will have a guiding framework to help us ensure that we remain focused on the work that will support our 21st century learners.
Community & Staff Input
The input of the Sherwood community is very important to us.We have been systematically collecting data and feedback during each budget cycle about what is most important to the families and staff in our District.If you will remember, we have conducted listening sessions over the past two years with the community and our schools and departments, in addition to on-line surveys and input via email.All of the information gleaned from these input opportunities has been synthesized and studied by our team, creating a foundation, if you will, from which we are working to develop a sustainable budget.You can review this data from the links below, and while opportunities for input will look different this year, we always welcome your thoughts and ideas.
We invite you to come and learn more about the 2013/14 budget, ask questions and share your thoughts with our team at public forums. The first forum will be held at Laurel Ridge Middle School on February 27, 2013 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The objective of this forum will be help ensure that community members and stakeholders are aware of the fiscal impact the Governor’s current proposed budget will have on our district. We will share our current assumptions relative to funding levels, factors impacting the fiscal challenges districts across the state are facing, and the amount we are targeting for reductions. Additional forums will be announced soon.
In addition to attending public forums, you may email our team at email@example.com with your comments and questions. Please note that while we typically receive too many emails to reply to each one individually, we do read each and every message and will ensure any comments sent to this address are shared with our Budget Committee and administrative team.