FG school board approves budget to cut teachers
The Forest Grove School Board approved a budget that calls for cutting three full-time employees and two class days at its meeting Monday night, June 12.
But it's still possible the district won't have to make those cuts.
The budget currently assumes the state legislature will approve $8.02 billion for the biennium, which Gov. Kate Brown proposed in December. Districts statewide are facing cuts under that proposal.
Board member Kate Grandusky voiced concerns about assuming the legislature will go forward with the $8.02 billion budget. She didn't feel the district should cut a teacher at Fern Hill Elementary School, one of the poorest schools in the district, while offering a 3 percent funding increase to the Forest Grove Communtiy School — even though she supports the charter school's mission. As a Title I school, more than 80 percent of Fern Hill students receive free and reduced-price lunches, she said.
Superintendent Yvonne Curtis said kindergarten enrollment has been decreasing at Fern Hill and increasing at other schools, so it's all about maintaining a balance.
It's possible, however, that legislators might vote through $8.2 billion for biennium funding, which would mean the district likely wouldn't have to cut staff or school days, according to Ilean Clute, the Forest Grove School District's director of business and support services.
The Oregon Senate has voted for the larger $8.2 billion budget and if the House approves it this week, the FGSD can request a budget adjustment.
The state funds the bulk of the district's general fund, which pays for salaries and other big expenses. The district has less control over how they spend money in other areas, such as projects funded by grants and bonds.
When district officials first started examining the $8.02 billion budget, it looked like they'd have to make about $1.5 million worth of cuts. But the district ended up saving some money last year and the state also made some adjustments after evaluating the actual amount of money that came in for schools based on income taxes and other revenue sources.
The district held several public budget meetings throughout the last few months at the district office on Main Street. Each school in the district also held a couple meetings to go over the proposed budget, one for parents and one for staff. Comments from these meetings and an online survey focused on keeping as much staffing as possible and reducing spending in areas that don't directly impact students.