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School District Update
Bryan Starr
Friday, May 22, 2020

Harrisburg Families and Community-

On Wednesday, May 20, 2020 the state gave their May forecast and it was not as bad as projected.  In summary here are a few key points.  The State School Fund, (SSF) we are looking at about 4% or a $308 million reduction.  Lottery proceeds are projected to come in at 20% less than expected adding a $120 million to the SSF deficit and 63 million in Corporate Activity Tax, (CAT) losses.  So that brings the total reduction to the SSF to $490 million.  This equates to about $400,000 in reductions to Harrisburg School District.  The new CAT tax is now predicted to generate $1.2 billion instead of the original projection of $1.6 billion.  So roughly this amounts to a 37.3% reduction going from the expected $593 million to $296.5 million in the Student Investment Account, (SIA) for the 20-21 school year.  Measure 98 is estimated to land at $101.5 million instead of the $155 million a 35% reduction.

The special session will be called by Governor Kate Brown for middle to late June.  State reserve funds currently projected to have $1.75 billion available for the 2019-21 biennium.  The legislature will have the opportunity to use the $800 million of the Education Stability fund and the $947 million from the Rainy Day fund to support the SSF.  Please contact your senator and representative expressing the need to support the needs of our most vulnerable and historically underserved students and families are met.

New challenges are the next two bienniums, an estimated reduction of $5 billion for the 21-23 biennium and $3.4 billion for the 23-25 biennium.

Given this information, I've decided to not move forward with furlough days this year.  I keep hearing that people are hurting and if some of our staff have reductions, they will have a difficult time making their mortgage/rent payments and other bills.  The work share program really does not work for our school district since we are on a 4 day week.  The main reason for me to move forward with cutting some days was to have close to $100,000 extra in carryover to soften the blow next year.  However, with work share we would only carry over approximately $25,000-$30,000.  

I am meeting weekly with our administrators developing a plan moving forward.  We have some staff vacancies of which we are considering filling or not filling.  We will have to make cuts for next school year though, such as not filling vacancies or freezing everyone's salaries (no steps, and COLA) plus possible furlough days.  There are many variables to this puzzle.  Our LBL ESD is experiencing reductions as well.  Our goal is to keep as many staff on board and perform the work so our students have the best learning opportunities possible.  Following the special session we will have a clearer picture of SSF, SIA, and Measure 98 funding.  

We are planning to open schools this fall.  It will look different with temperature checks taking place at entrances and safety precautions in place.  Oregon Department of Education, ODE will send out guidance in a few weeks.  We will open up our track and fields on Monday, June 15 for people to begin using.   Mr. Buzzard and Mr. Stauber are determining how to reopen our athletic programs for summer workouts.

I know this distance learning model has been very challenging for families as it has been for our staff.  In a matter of a few weeks in March, we went from a traditional school model to the distance learning model.  Everyone stepped up to the challenges and continue to do their best for all of the students in the school district.  The last day of school is Thursday, June 11, 2020.  The principals are working with their staffs to determine end of year celebrations.  High School graduation ceremonies will take place on Sunday, June 7 at 2 p.m. in front of the high school practicing social distancing. Have an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

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