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District News

June 7, 2013


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gresham-Barlow School Board adopts 2013-14 budget 

District and Community Relations Office

1331 NW Eastman Parkway

Gresham, OR 97030-3825

Phone: (503)-618-2834  Fax: (503)-666-9533

Website  district.gresham.k12.or.us

athena_vadnais@gbsd.gresham.k12.or.us

 

Concessions by employee groups lessen number of layoffs

The Gresham-Barlow School Board on June 6 approved the 2013-14 budget for schools. It assumes a K-12 education budget statewide of $6.55 billion and that PERS reform legislation will be passed by the legislature valued at $200 million statewide. At this level of state funding, the district was required to cut $5 million from its budget primarily through reductions in staff and concessions from employees.

“While reductions in staff will reduce some of our offerings and increase class sizes, the budget allows the district to continue to maintain its core program,” said Superintendent Jim Schlachter. “We preserved p.e. and music at the elementary level and our secondary schools will continue to have a variety of electives.”

The equivalent of approximately 33 positions will be reduced through layoffs and reductions in work hours. The reductions will be made across all groups: administrative, licensed (teaching staff), and classified (support staff).

Concessions by employee groups helped bring down the number of staff layoffs required to balance the budget. This week, the teachers union agreed to take four furlough days. Classified staff will take between four and five furlough days depending on the position. Administrative and confidential staff will take five furlough days. Administrative and confidential employees have also agreed to wage concessions.

“The concessions made by staff have played an important role in lessening the number of layoffs,” said Schlachter.

In reviewing where to make reductions in teaching staff, the district is making fewer cuts in schools with the highest poverty levels. Providing student support through lower class sizes helps address achievement challenges in high poverty schools.

Staffing is also being protected at two critical points in a child’s education—first grade, when students are developing their reading skills, and ninth grade math. Student failure in the ninth grade often results in students falling off track for graduation. Ninth grade math is the most frequently failed class.

The adopted budget also earmarks funds to keep the district moving forward in its work to raise student achievement. Funds will be used to purchase math curriculum for 4th and 5th grade, extend the Right Brain Initiative into all district elementary schools, and support resources needed to implement a new teacher and principal evaluation program. Funds transferred from the Multnomah Education Service District will be used to provide professional development within the district’s six education initiatives.

“Schools in Oregon have seen state funding shortfalls during the last four years,” said Superintendent Schlachter. “In spite of these challenges, our students continue to receive a strong educational program, thanks to the work of staff members who are effective, focused on improvement, and dedicated to serve.” 

Prior to the school board’s adoption, the district’s Budget Committee reviewed the proposed budget and approved it
on May 6.

 

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