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Carryover is thanks to 'responsible spending during recession,' will be put toward general fund, PERS and district priorities

Colton School District finished the 2018-2019 fiscal year with a $2.8 million carryover in the general fund to start the 2019-2020 school year.

Chris Gibb, Executive Director of Operations for the school district, said 6 percent of the carryover is designated by the school board of directors for the general fund. Forty percent of the carryover will be reserved for PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) expenses.

In an email, Colton School District Superintendent Koreen Barreras-Brown said, "The remaining funds will address state standards and the Colton School District priorities of equity, access, and progress, established by the comprehensive needs assessment in the 2018-19 school year. Therefore the funding will go towards the following: increasing educational assistants to support inclusive learning environments, a physical education teacher to meet state regulations for PE minutes and professional learning opportunities for educational assistants, leaders and educators."

According to Barreras-Brown and Gibb, Colton School District continues to fund the district's priorities previously funded by grants. Next year, the Colton School District will utilize the Student Investment Account to sustain and expand quality learning for all students K-12 to be on track and to graduate college- and career-ready.

Oregon House Bill 3427, the Student Success Act, was signed into law on May 20, 2019. This law, when implemented, promises $1 billion annually for additional support to districts for educational purposes. The funding is projected to start for the 2020-21 school year.

According to the Oregon School Boards Association website, "The Student Success Act has been set up so that all the money goes into an account outside the general fund (Student Investment Account) and has to be dedicated to education programs. It cannot be used to fund PERS, but it could be used to backfill programs that were cut because of losses of State School Fund money."

Barreras-Brown emphasized in her email, that fiscal management for sustainability of education at the highest degree is the district's goal.

She said the district utilizes a priorities-based budgeting model that incorporates data-driven decisions to allocate funding. The model allows the district to sustain high quality programs and to reserve funds as designated by the school board.

"Colton School District is fortunate to not be cutting days or staff for the 2019-20 school year, unlike many other school districts in Oregon," Gibb said. "This is due to the responsible spending that occurred during the recent recession."

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