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home : education : schools April 30, 2016

7/2/2013 2:01:00 PM
School budget restores school days
By John Griffith

For the first time in five years, the Sisters School District was able to meet its basic budget requirements without dipping into to reserves or contingencies, and without cutting staff, school days or programs.

The 2013-2014 budget restores the number of school days back to the recommended 189 days. There were no teacher or classified cuts, and no furlough days required. The position of media manager will not be replaced.

The oft-deferred step and column salary obligations were restored, and both certified and classified union contracts were settled quickly, and without significant drama.

Outgoing citizen member of the school budget committee Roger Detweiler concluded his three years of service on the budget committee with praise for both the budget process and the outcome for this fiscal cycle.

In the past, Detweiler and other citizen members have complained that they felt their inclusion in the budget process was "perfunctory." For the past several years there have been major budget cuts from the state that came only after the budget committee had concluded its work, in many cases forcing a complete rework of the carefully laid plans of the by-then-adjourned committee.

The 2013-2014 budget of $11,234,411 is an increase of $733,027, or nearly seven percent, over the 2012-2013 budget, but it is still down almost 10 percent from even the down-trending 2010 budget.

"We were able to put some more money towards athletics, and we put $100,000 towards a sixth-grade one-computer-to-one-student technology investment," Superintendent Jim Golden said. "We have an incredibly supportive community and the best (teacher) workload in the state."

There may well be even better news on the horizon as the state legislature wrangles with increasing funding for schools. The state budget was finally passed by the state Senate on June 26, but the details are still being argued as the bill moves to the House.

"Even those districts that are in better shape have also been forced to put their budget together on guesswork," reported on Wednesday.

If the current proposals are approved Sisters could potentially receive upwards of an additional $100,000.

(The budget is available at; click on Board of Education, tab Budget Information.)

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