Central anticipates zero employee cuts

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- There's bad and good news in Central School District's proposed budget for 2011-12.



MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- There's bad and good news in Central School District's proposed budget for 2011-12.

The bad? The district will make more than $1.07 million in reductions for the coming fiscal year.

The good? For the first time in three years, no employees will be laid off.

The district has enough money between its ending balance and pay reductions taken by staff in 2010-11 to use as one-time revenue to shore up $827,000 of the shortfall.

"I think we're going to do well next year," said interim Superintendent Forrest Bell. "We're better off than most of the districts around us and not seeing the same kind of collapses."

Central's $26.5 million general fund is based on the $5.7 billion state lawmakers have allotted for education during the next biennium.

Bell said the district's stable -- relatively, anyway -- financial footing stems from deep cuts during the last few years. Since 2009, Central has slashed more than $6.1 million and about 70 jobs.

"That's what's saving us now from having to make even more dramatic cuts," he said.

One-time revenues to offset this year's shortfall include $350,000 from pay reductions employees took in 2010-11.

The district will use another $100,000 from contingency funds and $377,400 underspent on maintenance, transportation and substitute teachers last year, said Mary Knigge, district business manager.

The state's school funding ratio for the biennium -- 51 percent this year, 49 percent for the next -- means Central will see a projected $600,000 shortfall in 2012.

"We've already lost so much, we agreed as a group to take the risk of not cutting any deeper this year," Knigge said.

The district will cut $245,000 from programs and services, including eliminating a half-time assistant superintendent position and eliminating transportation for sports at Talmadge Middle School.

Knigge said Central Youth Sports will continue to operate an athletic program for local youths, though other resources must be found for travel.

The district will also no longer be the fiscal operator for the Poyama Child Day Treatment Center south of Independence. Some Central staff work at the facility, which offers mental health services to children.

The Willamette Education Service District will take over the office, and district employees would transition back into local school settings, Bell said.

There will be no furlough days for employees this year, but no salary increases either, Knigge said. Insurance and benefit costs will grow by 6 percent.

The district will recall two or three elementary teachers to fill forthcoming retirements.

Oregon's Office of Economic Analysis released a new state revenue forecast on May 12, predicting an additional $129 million in tax growth during the next biennium. A meager amount, it could shrink Central's shortfall for 2012-13 even further, Bell said.

Central School District's budget committee will meet Monday, May 23, at 6 p.m. in the Central High library. A public hearing on the budget will take place June 6.

Proposed Cuts

Central School District's proposed 2011-12 reductions include:

* Half-time assistant superintendent position -- $76,000

* Contribution to Poyama Child Treatment Services -- $22,600

* School resource police officer -- $72,000

* Athletic travel expenses for Talmadge Middle School -- $8,000

* Supplies -- $22,000

* Staff development and textbooks -- $44,000

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Central School District budget cuts during last three years

* 2009-10 -- $4.8 million; 51.5 positions

* 2010-11 -- $1.34 million; 19.5 positions

* 2011-12 -- $244,600; .5 positions



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