DALLAS – The Dallas School Board approved cutting three school days from the current school year in response to a reduction in the district’s State School Fund distribution on Monday night.

The funding decrease is the result of a continuing pattern of declining enrollment in the district – and this isn’t the end of budget cuts. Dallas Business Manager Debbie MacLean said more cuts will be on the table in the 2018-19 budget proposal.

She said the State School Fund updated estimate for the district sent on March 2 had $624,000 less than the previous estimate sent in November.

“This is really an ADM (average daily membership) reset of our declining enrollment,” MacLean said.

Schools in Oregon are funded by the state based on how many students are attending with additional “weights” for students who may need more resources to educate, such as those in special education or those learning English.

The district projected in December of 2016 a weighted ADM of 3,905.

The actual figure is 3,787. The reduction is a “correction” to make up for the district receiving funding for students that didn’t end up attending. Also, the extra funding given to schools for students living in poverty has been reduced statewide, MacLean said.

Previously, MacLean reported to the board that the district’s Common School Fund distribution was about $48,000 less than budgeted, so combined, the two setbacks amount to $672,000.

Thanks to some savings found in the budget, the total adjustment needed for the current year is $650,000.

“We’ve basically put a freeze on spending, except for what is essential, in the general fund,” MacLean said. “Other funds are spending as planned.”

Superintendent Michelle Johnstone said the district’s administrative team met last week to address the $650,000 shortfall and decided on three days that could be cut from the current year schedule: March 23 (parent/teacher conference), May 4 (inservice) and the last day of school June 14.

“By saving those three days, it gives us $298,000 toward that $650,000,” Johnstone said. “Spending is frozen, so we’ll see if we can maximize our efforts there … otherwise it will be $350,000 out of our ending fund balance instead of $650,000.”

Looking toward 2018-19 year, the district submitted a further reduced estimate of 3,752 ADMW, which will require about $1 million in cuts in the budget proposal for next year, MacLean said.

The 2018-19 budget will be introduced to the district’s budget committee this spring and approval required before July 1.

“This is very concerning,” said Board Chairman Mike Bollman. “But we will figure out a way to do our best with the upcoming budget.”

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