The approved budget reflects an approximate $21 million increase above the current year’s general fund budget. The increase in funds is based on Oregon K-12 schools receiving the equivalent of the $6.75 billion spending level that state leaders have proposed for the 2013-14 biennium, as well as continued growth in enrollment for the school district.
The approved budget maintains the school district’s 4 percent level of reserves (more than $18 million for 2013-14).
Under the approved budget, the school district’s investment in instruction will increase nearly 9 percent, including a $3.9 million increase for high schools above the current year.
The approved budget maintains the proposed budget’s 8 percent equity staffing allocation, which was strongly supported by parent and community testimony during budget hearings. The approved budget also maintains proposed staffing for K-5, K-8 and middle schools.
Despite these investments in school staffing, nearly 1 out of 3 PPS schools will see the loss of at least a partial staff position due to $2.5 million in federal funding cuts , school-specific dips in enrollment and the expiration of grants in the 2013-14 school year.
The approved budget also reflects the superintendent’s revised proposals to:
“This is still a scarce resources budget," said Superintendent Carole Smith. "Yet, our community came together to support our equity investments and we worked with parents to offer full course loads for high school students. I am pleased that so many people partnered with us in this budget process.”
Budget allows for implementation of arts tax agreement
The approved budget also gives PPS the authority to implement last week’s agreement with the City of Portland to backstop a total of $3 million in funding for 30 arts positions in K-5 and K-8 schools next academic year, while legal challenges to the City’s arts tax are pending. The 30 positions will ensure that there is at least a half-time art teacher in all schools serving students in grades K-5.
The approved budget does not formally spell out that contingency agreement. Instead, the proposed budget authorizes the school district to spend the full $4.5 million in City arts tax revenue that PPS would receive if the tax is upheld.
The approved budget includes over $18 million in uncommitted reserves, which is sufficient to support the $1.5 million in school district has committed as PPS’ share of the agreement with the City in the event that the City’s arts tax is not upheld in the courts.
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