April 13, 2007
Tuesday evening, I presented our proposed budget for the 2007-08 school year which is in support of our Comprehensive Plan. It was a privilege to share with our budget committee a bold, balanced, plan and budget that will be beneficial to our students and schools. After five years of struggling to balance budgets from decreased state allocations, we are on a strong upward swing!
Thanks to this years’ proposed state budget, we will be able to invest significantly in our schools and programs, and meet our goal to become the best school district in Oregon.
As of today, the budget for K-12 education, as proposed by the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee Co-chairs, has increased by 18%, to $6.245 billion, from the 2005-07 biennium. The Co-chairs budget has a base budget of $5.985 billion along with a $260 million School Improvement Fund. As it is currently proposed, monies in the School Improvement Fund are to be spent on specific initiatives – literacy, class size reduc9itnl all day Kindergarten, specialists, mentoring, staff development and supplies and equipment. It just so happens that our comprehensive Plan has all those items in it.
Since the final budget number has not been set, we are basing our proposed budget on $6.0 billion – call it the base budget. Our Comprehensive Plan will guide how we will invest revenue both within and above the base budget. Starting with the base budget and then more intensely as revenue increases, we will be able to continue implementation of many of the initiatives and improvements we have identified in our Comprehensive Plan to meet Board goals. Our priorities include enhancing literacy, increasing academic accountability, continuing technology improvements to enhance learning, and managing growth.
Building administrators have been hard at work identifying the greatest needs at each level. A matrix that defines how funds over $6.0 Billion will be used has been created. In the base budget is sufficient staff to address growth and to maintain programs started this year, such as literacy improvement grants at the school level. For revenue scenarios above the base budget, plans include further enhancement of literacy programs, significantly reducing primary class sizes (18:1 in K-1 and 20:1 in 2) and adding additional positions 3-12. We are also planning to: add more resources to the supply and material budgets at all levels; put more resources into our library-media program by purchasing library materials and adding some certified library-media specialists at elementary and middle levels; providing more resources for staff development; adding resources to implement stronger building-based academic intervention programs; continuing to expand our technology program; and a variety of other items.
Also, an additional $3.2 million in “one-time” resources is being made available to the Bend-La Pine Schools. These funds are from the final reconciliation of our 2005-06 budget by the state. We are recommending these funds be applied to non-recurring needs that will benefit us for years to come. This may include paying off the recent purchase of computers (this will save us $100,000 in interest payments) and purchasing new school buses, among other things.
Using a disciplined approach and critical thinking, we have developed a budget that ensures the optimal allocation of available funds for the programs our students need most to be successful.
In the weeks to come, John Rexford, Ron Wilkinson or I will attend a staff meeting at each site to share this news with you, and tell you more about our plans for the 2007-08 school year and our proposed budget. This budget is something to celebrate, and one for which we can be proud because it will enable us to even more effectively “Educate Each Student to be a Thriving Citizen”.
Have a great week.
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