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School’s bottom line up

DALLAS — The Dallas School District received good financial news Monday, at least for the short-term outlook.

The future still is clouded with the prospect of increasing Oregon Public Employees Retirement System rates and possible declining enrollment. But on Monday, Business Manager Tami Montague reported an unanticipated increase in the amount of money left over from the 2015-16 school year, called an “ending fund balance.”

“A couple things happened near the end of the year that’s now making my ending fund balance projection go up bit,” Montague said.

The 2015-16 fiscal year hasn’t been completely closed out, but the estimate is that the district will end the year with $1.4 million, instead of $1 million previously predicted.

The boost is due to the State Land Board approving an increase in funding going to K-12 schools from the Common School Fund. For Dallas, that meant an additional $130,000.

Montague also credits disciplined spending at the district’s schools for ending the year on a higher note than expected.

“We were doing a really good job of closing down purchase orders without doing some unnecessary spending at the end of the year,” Montague said. “The building (administrators_ did an amazing job.”

Montague said not all the staff has been hired for the upcoming school year and some expenses are not calculated yet, but she estimated the district will end the 2016-17 in a similar position with about $1.5 million in ending fund balance.

“A lot of will depend on what our enrollment turns up in September, how many kids show up for school,” Montague said.

The district is preparing for a significant PERS increase in July 2017. Final projections should be known soon, but, for now, the district is anticipating a cost of $700,000 due to PERS.

“We are hearing there is no movement legislatively for PERS reform, so what we are seeing now, we are pretty sure we are going to get,” Montague said.

She said while expenditures are guaranteed to go up, there may be changes to the amount of money going to schools. November’s general election will have voters decide on Measure 97, a tax on sales of corporations in the state earning more than $25 million annually, with the revenue going to schools, health care and senior services.

“If there is revenue reform, that will help the picture for 2017-19, but without some kind of revenue reform, we are not anticipating we will receive enough to roll current services forward,” Montague said.

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