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State school budget could land in feast or fallow

Oregon’s school system walks a tight budgetary rope moving into the future.

While attending the Oregon School Board Association meeting, Lake County School District No. 7 Supt. Sean Gallagher learned about the state of school funding and it could affect local decisions in a big way.

“Basically what we’re hearing at the state legislative level is they expect to have from $6.1-6.6 billion in funding,” he told the collected district school board at the Monday, Feb. 11 regular meeting. That .5 different will make an enormous difference in the funds available to the board’s allocation for employees and services the school district can offer.

“With $6.1 billion everyone’s in agreement, we’re all cutting,” he said. “It’s going to be a state wide cut.”

“However, between $6.4-6.5 billion is like the break even point,” Gallagher added. “At $6.6, we can start looking at adding.”

Much of the outcome depends on legislation currently under development by the state. Given the thin amount, Oregon’s budget does not have a great deal of room. However, with Gov. John Kitzhaber’s strong educational mandate and a federal presentation to request additional funds, the legislature hopes that they can add to their existing pool.

The leaders of LCSD7 have often spoken plainly regarding their commitment to conservative budgeting. Unless anything significant happens through the end of the current school year, they will bring almost a million dollars of cash carry-over into the 2013-2014 term.

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