The Philomath School Board will hold a public hearing and plans to take a vote on adopting a 2023-24 budget during its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the school district office.
The proposed $47.2 million budget moves forward while the Oregon Legislature’s vote on the State School Fund remains stalled by a walkout. The last two-year budget cycle allocated $9.3 billion to schools and early budget drafts showed an estimated $9.9 billion allocation. In May, a new economic forecast increased the proposed State School Fund investment to $10.2 billion.
According to the district’s proposed budget, the $10.2 billion figure was used as the State School Fund assumption. That figure equates to $14.5 million to Philomath.
Even at the latest State School Fund estimate along with local property tax revenue and the local option levy that voters approved, the district’s proposed budget shows that there is not enough funding to continue at current staffing levels.
“Care was taken where we could, to reduce FTE (full-time equivalent) in positions that were already projected to be vacant in the 2023-24 school year due to resignations,” the proposed budget reads. “Unfortunately those were not enough to fulfill the reductions.”
The budget hearing is anticipated to occur near the beginning of the meeting.
The School Board last month tabled a “declaration of reduction in force” agenda item and it is included again on Thursday evening’s agenda.
Also on the agenda are discussions and possible decisions on the district’s forest property, Philomath Education Association negotiations, a superintendent’s evaluation, an easement request from Benton County and the School Safety and Traffic Circulation Study.
The meeting will also include various reports and a new student representative to the board is expected to be sworn in.
The School Board plans to begin the evening with an executive session at 6 p.m. to discuss topics allowed by state statute. Executive sessions are closed to the public.
The Philomath School District office is located at 1620 Applegate St., with access to the meeting through a door at the back of the building. Meetings are also streamed on the school district’s YouTube channel.