Beaverton schools dip into funds, save teacher jobs


School district used $18M from rainy day funds

Beaverton School District_123685

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — After months of heated discussions, the Beaverton School Board approved a new budget for the 2019-2020 year that will avoid “massive” teacher layoffs.

Sacrifices needed to be made to resolve the shortfall and avoid layoffs. But some staff members will have to transfer to different schools.

Monday night, the Beaverton board OK’d a $515 million budget to resolve some heated concerns. The worries from parents and teachers started several months ago when the district announced a potential $35 million budget shortfall for the coming year.

Public meetings were held with talks of reducing staff, increasing class sizes and cutting some programs.

In the end, the district will shorten the school year by 5 days, reduce 143 positions through retirement and people leaving and they’ll use $18 million in rainy day funds to help maintain class sizes.

“We’ve used some of our reserves to get us through but we have to be very careful that we don’t become reliant on that,” said Maureen Wheeler with the Beaverton School District. “So we’ll want to be very crisp with our projections going forward.

Pencils and pens on a teacher’s desk (KOIN, file)

The Student Success Act, recently passed by the Oregon legislature, may help in the future. But the new funding wouldn’t be available until the fall of 2020 and that will depend on whether it goes to voters through a referendum.

As for what caused the budget shortfall in the first place, the district’s interim chief financial officer said it’s a combination of increased PERS costs and the district’s underestimated salary costs.

Right now he’s working on an analysis of what went wrong financially and what the district can do better moving forward.

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