Committee approves DSD 2017-18 budget

DALLAS — The Dallas School District Budget Committee approved the 2017-18 budget on May 17, and set priorities for additional funding if the Oregon Legislature sends more than $7.8 billion to schools.

Dallas’ budget is based on a funding level of $7.8 billion for the 2017-19 biennium, but the Legislature hasn’t approved the school’s budget yet, leaving the door open to a higher funding level.

“Right now, the real message that we are getting is hold. We are still standing at $7.8 billion because that is the last best information that we have,” said Tami Montague, the district’s fiscal services director.

Montague said the May 16 state revenue forecast indicated there will be more revenue to fill the state’s shortfall.

“The irony there is that there is enough new revenue now that they believe it will kick the kicker,” she said.

A “kicker” happens when revenue comes in at least 2 percent higher than estimated. The personal kicker returns money to taxpayers through a credit on tax returns. Corporate kickers go toward K-12 education.

With some uncertainty, the budget committee approved the budget as first presented, but gave instructions for the Dallas school board to follow if more money is allocated.

The committee recommended the board consider suggestions from the district’s collaboration team, a group of teachers and administrators that is involved in creating the budget.

With increasing PERS costs in mind, committee member Linda Fox said the district should increase its beginning fund balance, money carried over from the previous year.

The committee also suggested the board should use unexpected resources to shrink the size of elementary classes.

After approving the budget unanimously, the committee voted to put those suggestions into a formal recommendation.

The board is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the budget on June 12.

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