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Ending school June 3 will save money to plug budget hole for the 2020-12 school year

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - The Reynolds School District abruptly ended the school year to save money in an effort to plug an estimated $8.8 million budget shortfall in the 2020-21 school year.

School's out for Reynolds.

Students in the Reynolds School District are finished with the school year as of Wednesday, June 3, so teachers can take furlough days to save the district money.

The district said it is facing an $8.8 million budget shortfall in the 2020-21 school year. That shortfall is equivalent to roughly 88 teaching jobs.

Portland Public Schools led the way this year to save money by furloughing staff every Friday from May to the end of July, saving the Portland district $10 million to be put toward the expected budget shortfall in the 2020-21 school year.

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting business disruptions sent shock waves through the economy. It punched big and unexpected holes in school district budgets due to the predicted drop in tax revenues that fund schools.

The last day of school for Reynolds students was originally to have been Wednesday, June 10.

Reynolds said on its web page, "The economic effects of this global pandemic are just beginning to be understood and the state of Oregon faces a daunting financial forecast which will ultimately impact school funding in the coming years. With these budget shortfalls looming, Reynolds School District administration has come to agreements with our labor groups to take furloughs (unpaid leave) over the coming final weeks of the 2019-2020 school year as a cost-saving measure. These reductions to paid days/hours now can help to alleviate budget reductions in the future that could impact the student learning experience."

Tiny alternative high school Reynolds Learning Academy will have school through June 5, to accommodate graduation.

The Reynolds School Board approved shortening the school year at their Wednesday, May 27, board meeting.

Because of the shortened school year, the district moved to a summer meal distribution schedule as of Monday, June. 1 and will continue that through the end of August. Breakfast and lunch grab-and-go meals will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday at 10 schools.

Students are being allowed to keep their computer tablets and hot spots over the summer. The district distributed the technology to all students who needed it when schools were put on all remote learning in April due to the pandemic. Students who are moving can return the devices at several times and places in the district.

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