Medford School District preparing to cut $1.1-million from budget

Medford, Ore. —  It’s unclear how much state funding local school districts will receive for the upcoming school year. The governor has proposed one number, the legislature is anticipating something lower. That has Medford School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate being conservative in the budget proposal he released Thursday night.

“Given all those scenarios with cost of living and other inflationary drivers we feel that we need to cut about 1.1 million in future spending for the current year,” Superintendent Brian Shumate says.

That brings the district’s budget to a total of $132-million. It’s a small piece of a large pie, but the cuts have to come from somewhere. Dr. Shumate’s goal is that if anything, the impact will be felt least in the classroom.

“Class sizes at elementary schools, we’ll try to maintain as low as possible,” Dr. Shumate says, “our career pathways, technology for kids.”

Technology like Google Chromebooks which can be found in classrooms across the district. A district where enrollment, attendance, test scores and graduation rates are all on the rise.

Maintaining that momentum is what shaped this year’s budget.

“We’re going to do our best to preserve all the services to the classroom,” Shumate says, “and make peripheral cuts to get to that number.”

Currently, 7 positions are set to be eliminated. The hope however, is through attrition, 5 of those employees will still have jobs.

“Those folks should be able to land in jobs within our school district.”

Additional state funding could come through. If it does, Superintendent Shumate plans to put it in to savings.

“The actuaries are saying that PERS has a 22-billion dollar unfunded liability, so if we get more money this time we gotta continue putting money back into savings to pay the future bills.”

“We may be able to refund some of the services we just cut,” Shumate says, “but I doubt we’ll refund all of them.”

The next budget committee meeting will be held April 26th at 6 p.m. in the Medford School District boardroom. The public is invited to comment. The school board is expected to vote on the budget sometime in June.

Kristin Hosfelt anchors NBC5 News at 6 with NBC5 News Director Craig Smullin. Kristin is originally from the Bay Area. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from San Jose State University.

She comes to KOBI-TV/NBC5 from Bangor, Maine where she was the evening news anchor. Kristin has won multiple journalism awards including Best Feature Reporting in the State of Maine.

When Kristin is not sharing the news she's hunting down the best burrito, hiking a local trail or buried in a Jodi Picoult novel. She's also a Green Bay Packers shareholder! If you see her out and about she'd be happy to tell you how a California girl became a Cheesehead.

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