“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.