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The 2019-20 budget allows for existing programs and services to remain in place

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Crook County Middle School engineering students learn to program Sphero BOLT robots. The proposed 2019-2020 school district budget will allow for expanded career technical education programs.

As Sara Johnson wraps up her first budget season as Crook County School District superintendent, she looks ahead to the coming school year with plans to continue to improve the district.

"The proposed 2019-2020 budget supports school board goals for achievement of high standards of performance for all students and staff," Johnson said. "We are committed to providing outstanding learning for all and fostering secure and healthy learners."

The school district will have more money available to focus on improvements.

"Changes to funding, local revenue and enrollment are projected to result in a total net increase in General Fund revenue sources of approximately 2%," reports CCSD Director of Business and Finance Anna Logan.

The 2019-2020 proposed budget has an ending fund balance of $1.5 million.

The Oregon State School Fund estimate is projected at $8.972 billion for the biennium, which is the amount proposed in the governor's budget — up from $8.2 billion in the last biennium. The 2019-2020 is the first year of the biennium, and the State School Fund is split 49% for year one and 51% for year two, Logan explained.

In Crook County, property taxes are budgeted at a 5% increase, which, Logan said, does affect the State School Fund projections because higher local revenue reduces State School Fund revenue.

However, Logan said district enrollment is projected to increase by 1.7% compared to 2018-2019.

"A decrease is expected at the elementary level, and an increase is expected at the middle school and high school levels," Logan reported.

Also, the Transportation Grant is expected to increase due to added bus depreciation.

The proposed budget assumes a 190-day full school year and that existing programs and services will remain in place.

Johnson pointed out that the new budget allows the district to address several initiatives, including academic opportunities that prepare students for a successful future and career; technical education opportunities; college readiness and transferable college credits; mental health and behavior support; increased labor costs, PERS rate increases; PERS debt services increases; and ongoing maintenance and facilities needs.

The district relies on Measure 98 funds to enhance career-technical programs, improve high school graduation and college enrollment rates, and cover the cost of some staff.

"We offer a wide range of CTE courses, and the next phase of improvement will include refinement, alignment and application," Johnson said. "Partnerships with community industry partners enhances experiences our students enjoy."

Johnson noted that the school board and district staff are focused on utilizing resources to increase student attendance, address health and safety, provide focused professional growth and development, and ensure outstanding learning experiences.

She pointed out several upcoming opportunities that the budget provides, including continued focus on math instructional improvement; continued investment in Advancement Via Individual Determination; increasing the number of students stating the district is a supportive, inspiring culture for students; students' access to technology; continued increase in graduation rates; continued upward trends in attendance; and improvement in student outcomes in assessments.

"Our drive to improve instruction and student achievement is built around supporting principals and teachers in developing their professional practice and relationships with students in order to accelerate student learning," Johnson said.

She noted that AVID, math instructional professional development and CTE coordination for grades six through 12 all lead to accelerated, continuous improvement.

Although revenues may be up slightly, the district does anticipate some additional expenses.

More teachers may be needed to maintain appropriate class sizes. The cost of athletic coaching stipends will increase as a result of labor cost increases.

Logan pointed out some big-ticket expenditures, including increases to labor costs, PERS and health insurance rates as well as an increase in PERS debt payments. The district will also continue to provide professional development opportunities for staff.

The local service plan budget will remain approximately the same and will provide resources for the district's software, special education services and staffing.

School board members will conduct a public hearing on the 2019-2020 district budget at the June 10 meeting and will then vote to adopt it.

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