The budget for the fiscal year 2015-2016 was prepared in accordance with current laws and regulations and with direction from the Board of Directors. The overall budget as presented by the budget officer is in balance at this time and no staffing reductions are being recommended. While that is positive news in light of the last few years, the district can still not afford to add course offerings or reduce class sizes.
Enrollment in the district seems to have stabilized over the last couple of years allowing for a measure of predictability in resources. However, the retirement of a number of senior employees has reduced our experience rating, in turn reducing the amount of money we receive from the state per student. When coupled with the 7.2 billion State School Fund expectations, the District was able to handle the decreasing adjustment by reducing multiple line-item expenditures. Many of these items were possible due to the Cool Schools Program where we were able to reduce our heating and electrical costs as well as pay down the loan through the sale of tax credits, reducing line-item expenditures by roughly $30,000. Other reductions included busing costs for Kindergarten, construction maintenance, maintenance equipment, and unemployment costs.
Other areas to note in this budget include an increased expenditure in technology (this is the third year in a three-year lease). This has provided a stable student lab for testing and updated staff computers. Property and liability insurance rates are predicted to increase between 3% and 5% as reflected in the object line 651. The balance of the budget was impacted by the hope that both the UEA and OSEA bargaining units settle at a 1.5% increase in salary as well as an increase in the curriculum bank and funding the wrestling program, as requested by the bargaining units. This would enable the district to maintain its current service level. Further, the District has budgeted $35,000 for Next Generation Science Standards textbook adoption to work toward expectations set forth by the Oregon Department of Education.
In the wake of recent years, where we have experienced multiple reductions in staff and the inability to stay up to date with curriculum adoptions, we will be able to continue the level of service that we were able to provide this 2014-2015 school year. However, we are still unable to add back the full-time services of academic counseling and media.