Today, legislative leaders proposed funding K-12 schools in Oregon at the equivalent of $6.75 billion for the 2013-15 biennium. The proposal includes an appropriation of $6.55 billion, plus proposed savings in the public employee retirement system (PERS) that would save school districts approximately $200 million over the next two years. Proposed revenues include potential changes in state tax deductions.
These PERS savings proposals would reduce PPS costs by approximately $8 million for the 2013-14 school year.
Funding proposal would hold the line for Portland’s schools
Based on earlier school funding proposals released in Salem, PPS budget staff had been projecting a $17 million dollar budget gap for the next school year. Funding equivalent to $6.75 billion would erase that gap.
Superintendent Carole Smith recognized legislative leaders: “This is a major step forward for schools in Portland and many other parts of Oregon. After years of cuts, we are hopeful we can hold the line, and even take some small steps to build back what schools have lost in recent years. I appreciate that state leaders have made education a priority at a time when state resources remain tight.”
PPS budget staff cautioned that state funding below a level equivalent to the $6.75 billion proposed by state leaders would result in a budget gap and likely cause an overall reduction in staffing to schools.
Federal sequestration could affect the classroom
This morning’s announcement addressed state funding. School leaders indicated that many schools will see reductions next year if federal education funding cuts caused by across-the-board sequestration remain in place. If fully implemented, sequestration will cost Portland Public Schools more than $2 million dollars for federally-funded programs, such as Title I, which provides supports such as full-day kindergarten, reading specialists and counselors at 31schools with high percentages of low-income students.
Timelines for PPS budget
The announcement came as Portland Public Schools is in the midst of preparing a budget for the 2013-14 school year. Superintendent Carole Smith plans to release her budget proposal for the coming school year on April 15, 2013.
The superintendent will also hold budget listening sessions later this month (dates and times to be announced this week.)
On March 18, 2013, the Portland School Board will host a town hall on education with Governor John Kitzhaber. The town hall will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Madison High School 2735 NE 82nd Ave., and viewed on Comcast Channel 28 or online at the PPS live stream.
Questions for the Governor can be submitted in advance or during the town hall through the PPS Facebook page.
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