By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Budget committee sends proposal to Mac school board

Usually, in the second year of a two-year state funding cycle, school districts know by spring how much they will have to spend in the coming school year. But with the coronavirus pandemic and related economic downturn, McMinnville knows only how much State School Fund money is was supposed to get, not how much it will receive.

The state’s May economic forecast predicted a $2.7 billion revenue loss for the state in the current biennium and another $7.8 billion loss through 2025, said Susan Escure, finance director for the school district.

That change would leave the district $5.2 million short of what it needs in 2020-21 — less than the $7 million shortage predicted earlier, but still critical, Escure and Superintendent Maryalice Russell said.

In addition, the district likely won’t get all of the $5.5 million in Student Success Act funds it was expecting. The SSA money would have allowed the district to hire more counselors and mental health specialists, and address class sizes and learning time and other issues.

Some SSA money may come in, Escure said, and there may be federal funds to help make up the budget shortfall. In addition, Russell said, the state Legislature plans to meet in late June, and it could supplement school funding from the state’s Rainy Day fund and other emergency money.

Without additional money, a $5.2 million shortfall could make it necessary for the district to cut positions, negotiate for salary freezes, or use furlough days to make up the difference, the superintendent said. It had to do so in 2009, when the recession led to a $6 million deficit, she said.

“We would not want to make that kind of reduction again,” Russell said during the Budget Committee meeting.

With the financial picture uncertain, the committee approved a $115.7 million spending plan, including the debt service fund that is paying off the construction bond voters approved in 2016. The total includes a General Fund operating budget of about $82 million, and reserve funds of about $7 million, an amount dictated by district policy.

The school board will consider giving final approval to the budget at its Monday, June 22, meeting. The public hearing will start at 7:30 p.m., likely via Zoom.

For more information and directions for attending the meeting, call the school district office, at 503-565-4001.

 

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