Newberg school board approves new budget
The Newberg School District board of directors approved a 2019-2020 budget earlier this month, looking ahead to the next school year with an eye on stability and improvements.
The budget for the upcoming school year is $57.84 million – up nearly $8 million from last year's budget thanks in large part to education funding increases at the state level. According to a letter written in April by Superintendent Joe Morelock in conjunction with the budget, the district's plan was based on Gov. Kate Brown's State School Fund of $8.97 billion, adopted by the Legislature in May.
The approved budget is subject to revision before its official adoption, based on legislative decisions in Salem.
"The budget … is predicated on two primary directives: budget stability mechanisms to keep Newberg public schools from repeating the challenges of the past, and funding the priorities set forth by the strategic plan, formulated by the board, staff and the community together," Morelock said in his letter.
Priorities laid out by the district include increased staffing to reduce class sizes and help support special education, dual language and behavior support programs; Career and Technical Education (CTE) support; professional development for education standards; money set aside for PERS increases and staffing realignments.
More than $400,000 will be set aside to begin saving money for PERS increases now that Brown has signed legislation on that front.
"The school board, staff members and the community engaged in a process of building a visionary strategic plan which outlined three key areas for the district to aim its focus: enrich the student experience, steward our resources and cultivate community partnerships," Morelock wrote. "The 2019-20 budget was developed in order to focus on programs and/or strategic plan factors."
Slightly more than 48 percent of the budget goes to salaries for district employees, while 33.5 percent goes to their benefits. A shade below 12 percent goes to services while the remainder is split between supplies and other expenses.
The board's ending fund balance goal – what the district hopes to have left over at the end of the school year – is 7 percent or about $4 million.
Of the money budgeted, roughly 56 percent comes from the State School Fund, while just over 29 percent comes from property taxes in the district. The remainder is derived from the beginning fund balance along with other ancillary funding mechanisms.
After major budget cuts caused shrinkage at the district office and elsewhere this past year, increased school funding will lead to a replenishment of some of the full-time positions in the district. Sixty-one positions were cut from the district over the past two school years. This budget strategically restores 12 of those positions.
"As we look to the future for all students in the communities of Newberg and Dundee, we must begin to make plans now for the kinds of activities and interventions and innovations that will help us grow into the next century," Morelock wrote. "We have diligently worked to provide a budget pathway that allows for both the development of reserves and the provision of an exceptional education. We have focused our efforts on the priorities of the district's strategic plan for 2018-2021, and have added where it made fiscal and educational sense to do so."
A full breakdown of the proposed budget – which has been approved but not yet adopted in an official capacity – is available at the school district's website at www.newberg.k12.or.us/district/adopted-and-proposed-budgets.