Panel plays and important role in shaping schools' futures

It is great that we are all thinking about filling the two open Forest Grove School Board positions vacated by the recall election.

While that is very much on the agenda, there is another set of positions that need to be filled before budget business can be addressed.

It is unusual to have four budget committee positions open at the same time but that is the case this year. These positions need to be filled before the district can start the budget process for 2012-2013 early in the coming year.

This community has valued persons who have served previously on budget committees and I would encourage those who can make themselves available for another term to please apply.

However, we also need applicants from the community at large.

These are not positions to be taken lightly; you may well be called upon to make some decisions that are unpopular.

A primary requirement is that of being interested and able to decide how to manage our limited resources to give our students the greatest possible educational experience.

We are in the midst of a downsized economy and a decreasing student population. This is an especially difficult job, but that makes it an even more important job. Experience with budgeting, business management and prioritizing educational needs is certainly an asset.

None of the budget committee members were happy with the program reductions that were necessary last year. We were forced to make cuts that changed every segment of our programs.

Last spring we made every effort to build a budget that would be sustainable through the 2012-2013 school year. However, we know that our declining student population is going to reduce the amount of funds available to us next year.

The state revenues have not currently met their budgeted levels. While the state has not committed to funding changes at this time, it surely will be a topic during their short session in February.

It is almost chiseled in stone that next year's funds to our school district will be less than this year's. The budget committee will be called upon to make some tough decisions for the 2012-13 school year.

You may obtain an application for the budget committee at the superintendent's office or you may download the form from the district's web site. If you have questions about the position you may contact the business manager.

Applications will be received up to 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16 at the superintendent's office.

Fred Marble is a member of the Forest Grove School Board.