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 b