The proposed budget struggles to maintain a current service level for the district
Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS) Superintendent Christy Perry tonight announced the $1.19 billion proposed budget for 2019-20. The budget was developed before lawmakers have finalized the State School Fund and is based on Governor Brown’s recommended allocation of $8.97 billion for the 2019-21 biennium for K-12 education. Should the co-chair’s budget be passed, SKPS will have to cut $3.5 million from the proposed budget.
The proposed budget was developed with four guiding priorities to ensure equitable outcomes for all students:
- Maintaining current service levels, including previous investments in behavioral learning
- Investing in full-time equivalent (FTE) for enrollment growth, particularly in caseloads for special education
- Converting limited-term positions of special education instructional assistants to permanent staff
- Providing resources for transportation to adequately support boundary adjustments
“In a proposed budget that struggles to maintain current service levels with funding that is well below the Oregon Quality Education Model, all schools and departments across the district could use additional resources,” said Perry. “The governor’s budget means we aren’t taking a step back or losing educators like other districts, but unfortunately, it also means we aren’t able to add significant resources to help our students.”
While this budget represents an increase over last year’s budget, it is a challenge to maintain current service level while addressing increases in operating costs. For instance, rate increases in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) increased $14 million from last year with $12 million due solely to rate increases.
Revenue in the proposed budget is based on the assumption of a 49 percent allocation of revenue in the 2019-20 school year, which is the first year of the biennium, and a 51 percent allocation in the second year.
The proposed budget estimates Average Daily Membership (ADM) as flat and Average Daily Membership weighted (ADMw) as increasing slightly. SKPS is projecting a continued trend of fewer numbers of elementary students overall while balancing increased numbers of students in middle school and high school.
The general fund makes up 43 percent of the SKPS operating budget and represents the unrestricted funds for supporting students in classrooms. Totaling $514 million, the general fund includes salaries, supplies and materials, purchased services and associated payroll costs as well as the operating contingencies for unexpected expenses, capital outlay and transfers to restricted funds.