News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

School board adopts next year's budget

The Sisters School Board adopted the 2023-2024 operating budget in a public hearing at the final School Board meeting of the school year. Every year, the School Board adopts the new operating budget based on the money allotted to the Sisters School District (SSD) from the state school fund. The state school fund amount is decided in the state legislature.

The general fund budget, including $9,619,008 for instruction and nearly $8 million for support service,s, comes to $19,774,962. That includes a $1,640,000 contingency fund. The special revenue fund allocates $3,170,035 for instruction and $1,661,391 for support services. The total budget for the school year was adopted at $68,021,134 — including the $37,795,545 Capital Projects Fund based on construction bonds approved by voters.

The general fund number is the weighted average per number of students enrolled in the Sisters School District, and divvys up the state school fund numbers.

The special revenue fund comes from state, local, and federal grants that are awarded to the District.That includes the Oregon Community Foundation and other special education grants that contribute to instruction and programming.

The resolution adopting the budget may be found accompanying the online version of this story at www.

Last January, Sisters Schools Superintendent Curt Scholl told The Nugget that, based on previous years, the state number that Sisters School District needs to craft a budget to fully fund all services — special programs, paying staff, operations, mechanical maintenance, etc. — is $10.3 billion.

“We get an amount from the State, and we have to provide certain services that are required no matter what they give us,” said Scholl.

“We try and do more with less and do things that have the least impact on kids, but with maintenance and textbooks — when does that start to have an impact as well?” he said.

As of mid-May the number was at $9.9 billion and Democrats were pushing a budget of over $10.2. Due to the Republicans being in a walkout, the legislature can’t officially approve a budget.

“Our budget committee has already approved a budget at $9.9 and there are safeguards in place that if the budget changes by 5 percent, they have to reconvene the budget committee, but the proposed changed number would not create enough of a change to reconvene,” said Scholl.

Sisters School District must have an approved budget by the end of the school year in June, so they have to adopt a budget based on the numbers they know from the State, even though they are not officially approved by the legislature.

With a lower budget number than the $10.3 number they were shooting for, SSD will look at cutting costs in areas that don’t affect the students and their learning. This means not having brand-new textbooks, and cutting back on maintenance projects. When they break it all down, the District will strive to make the cuts in areas where kids won’t see an impact.

With the local option levy passing for the fifth year, the District can continue funding special programs with the local option money, which accounts for 10 percent of the annual budget.


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