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Schools' budget committee now recruiting

Applications accepted until Nov. 25 for three open positions


Do you have want to have a say in the way the school district spends its money?

The West Linn-Wilsonville School District Board of Directors currently is recruiting members to fill three positions on the district’s budget committee. The terms of two former members, Richard Truitt and Kellie Vavrosky, expired in June, and new school board member Rob Fernandez vacated his seat on the budget committee after his election in May.

MiddlestetterThe budget committee features five members, each of whom is appointed by the school board to a three-year term. The committee meets according to statutory guidelines, with public meetings that must be announced in advance.

It’s a common misconception that the budget committee works with school officials to build the budget from the ground up, WL-WV Business Manager Doug Middlestetter said. Statute requires that the first time the budget committee members officially meet, committee members must be presented with a balanced budget for the coming school year.

“That’s the starting point,” Middlestetter said. From that starting point, committee members help to refine the budget.

“The budget committee helps bring accountability to the public for public money being spent in the district,” he said. “Community representatives check in, ask questions and make suggestions. That’s the reason for public involvement.”

The budget committee will meet informally for a training and information session before members receive the district’s 2014-15 budget and will meet three or four times after that.

“It tends to be discussion about processes,” Middlestetter said of the meetings. “The superintendent generally will open a meeting and give some background information. I will present financial data that influences our thinking. (Committee members) bring to the table their thoughts and experiences.”

Business experience is a plus, but no specific budget experience is required. Applicants must live within the boundaries of the West Linn-Wilsonville School District and they must not be officers or employees of the district.

“We like to see people that care about the district,” Middlestetter said. “We’re working with the business side of education.”

New members benefit from business-related budgeting experience, although the process of budgeting for a public entity is a little different.

“I have often heard that comment, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that!’” Middlestetter said. “A typical private company is able to steer their market focus. If times are tough, they can drop a product line. ... With the school district, we are required to educate all students at all times. We don’t have the option of dropping classes because of lean times.”

Applications are due by 4 p.m. Nov. 25 and are available at the district office building, 22210 SW Stafford Road, or online at tinyurl.com/mlfqdkf. Interested citizens will interview with the school board and selection depends upon candidates’ responses to interview questions. Appointments become effective immediately upon selection and will end June 30, 2016.

“The last time we interviewed, we had more applications than positions,” Middlestetter said.

Although he emphasized that all applications will be considered, judging from past experience, candidates with applicable experience will end up being tabbed for the committee.

The budget committee is able to meet with fewer than five members if recruitment is slow, but Middlestetter doesn’t worry about that possibility.

“We’ve never done it before,” he said. “This is a very involved community and there are usually people standing in line to help out.”




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  • 21 Dec 2014

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  • 22 Dec 2014

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