May 4, 2017
Good afternoon HRCSD Educators,
Last night the budget committee approved the 2017-18 proposed budget. It pains me to report that this is a cuts budget.
As I’ve recently discussed with you, the Oregon Legislature is poised to consider a K-12 education budget that is $600 million below what it would cost to maintain the current level of programs and staffing for schools across the state. To maintain our current level of services here in HRCSD, the State School Fund (SSF) must be $8.4 billion for the 2017-19 biennium. There are some signs that the Oregon Legislature will increase the SSF from its current $7.8 billion level, but that is still an unknown. We have optimistically planned our 2017-18 budget using $8.0159 billion, which was the Governor’s initial proposal. The Budget Committee agreed with our hopeful budget number, despite the inherent risks.
The result is that our budget for next year includes approximately $800k in program reductions on top of spending $2.1 million from reserves. That means we will have $2.1 million more program (e.g., staffing) next year than we are expecting to receive from the state. In order for us to maintain that level the following year (2018-19), we will need at least another $2.1 left in our reserves. Our budget achieves that goal, but not without reductions to staffing levels, textbook purchases, technology purchasing, field trips, athletic competitions, and the like. I am still optimistic that we will achieve our staffing reductions through attrition (as people retire) and avoid a Reduction in Force.
Many Oregonians have contacted decision-makers in Salem about prioritizing school funding. People have expressed that class sizes and breadth of educational programming are critically important to the State’s future. HRCSD shares those values - and I applaud you for continuing to convert scarce resources into high-impact services for students. This is a tribute to the work you do - to all HRCSD employees. But anything less than $8.4 billion in the State School Fund is unacceptable. Please consider making your voice heard. For more information about how to contact decision-makers in Salem about school funding, go to http://oregon-rising.org.
HRCSD is committed to fiscal stability and the 2017-18 approved budget is specifically built with consideration of the longer-term impacts of continued massive PERS rate increases and escalating healthcare costs. The 2017-18 approved budget is available on the District website and I have attached the budget message presentation for your review.
I want to thank you again for being the best, most dedicated educational staff in the state (and likely beyond). It is truly my honor to try to support you the best that I can under the financial circumstances. Together, I know we will continue to deliver for our students and make a difference in the fight for education funding in Salem.