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Four positions in the district office, including assistant superintendent, will be cut to achieve majority of savings

COURTESY NEWBERG SCHOOL DISTRICT - The Newberg High School commons is shown in this courtesy photo.

Just ahead of public meetings scheduled to collect input from parents and community members about what it should prioritize as it prepares to cut $4.3 million from the 2018-2019 budget, the Newberg School District announced March 13 that it will eliminate four positions at the district office in order to realize a savings of $507,000.

In a letter distributed to parents Tuesday afternoon, the district detailed its plan to terminate the positions of assistant superintendent, director of teaching and learning, chief of staff and communications coordinator, reducing the size of its senior staff from 10 to six. Those positions are currently held by Dave Parker, Stafford Boyd, Mikaela Schamp and Autumn Foster, respectively.

It is possible that Parker will attempt to succeed Superintendent Kym LeBlanc-Esparza, who recently announced that she will resign at the end of the school year in order to move to Colorado and be closer to family.

"It's not a matter of pressure or calls for anyone's jobs or anything like that, but we have a responsibility to this community and to these students, so that's what goes into the decisions here," Foster said. "While every one of these positions plays a very important role in the district that a lot of people may not be aware of, the cuts have to happen somewhere."

The district also announced that Antonia Crater Elementary School principal Michele Paton has decided to resign her post at the conclusion of the school year to take a position with Salem-Keizer Public Schools. The district will save an additional $100,000 by not filling that position.

Instead, Ewing Young Elementary School's Kevin Milner will cover principal duties at Crater and Crater. Physical education teacher Brian Wood will become dean of students, a half-time position, in order to bolster the level of support at both buildings.

Wood will remain on as a half-time P.E. instructor at Crater, but the district will have to add a second half-time teacher to compensate for his new half-time role. Milner also serves as principal of the Chehalem Online Learning Academy (COLA), but that role will be assumed next year by Catalyst principal Tim Graham.

All told, the moves will save the district more than $600,000.

The announcement came a day before the first of two public budget forums the district held last week to allow parents and other stakeholders to provide input about what programs they value most value and what should be prioritized as district staff prepares to make cuts.

A school district release also noted that staff will work together with union leaders to analyze the community input and that after spring break, district and union leadership are scheduled to meet to begin collaborating on budget scenarios.

District leaders have until April 17 to compete a first draft of the 2018-2019 budget to present to the school board budget committee by May 1. Subsequently, any notifications to staff about further cuts for 2018-2019 won't be available until after April 17.

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