March 2019 Principal Chat.... REVEALED: It's Gonna Hurt

Sadly, it appears that each progressive principal chat brings us more dire news surrounding the impending budget cuts.  It’s round three and the latest forecast has Janet sharing some tough news.

“It’s gonna hurt.”

How badly?  And where? And why? Let’s dive in.

March BSD Budget Video: The Cliff Notes

BSD recently shared a video of Dan Grotting, Beaverton School District superintendent, discussing the latest budget landscape.  If you’ve been keeping up previously, there isn’t a lot of new info. But if this budget shortfall is somehow news to you, it’s worth 12 minutes of your time.

Oh fine.  Don’t watch. Here’s all the info.

Budget Based on Governor’s Projection

BSD will base their 2019-20 budget off Gov. Kate Brown’s projected $8.97 billion allocation for K-12 education. You can read what the critics are saying regarding that number HERE. Even though this is an 8.1% increase overall, it will not fund schools at the current service level.

This projected state number equals a $35million deficit for BSD going into 2019-20.  This is BEFORE the certified staff contract negotiations, meaning that doesn’t include any rollup cost or cost of living increase for our certified staff.

The Perfect Storm: Causes of Budget Deficit

Half of the budget deficit can be attributed to PERS.  One third of every state educational dollar goes to supporting the increase in PERS.  Also, only 40% of PERS recipients are school employees. The rest are city, county, and state government workers.

PERS reform has already been taken through the Oregon Supreme court, where PERS benefits were ruled a contract between the state and its employees and cannot be changed retroactively. These increases will be felt for the next THREE biennium budgets (six years). Yes, you read that right.  SIX YEARS.

Another significant portion of the deficit is attributed to Oregon’s Equal Pay Act, which went into effect on Jan 1. Salaries in BSD are being adjusted accordingly.

Finally, rising house prices and cost of living increases are pushing our students of poverty further and further out of Beaverton, equaling less money from the state.

Beaverton Investments UNSUSTAINABLE

In the past several years, Beaverton has invested in our students in various ways– largest number of school days (184), development of early childhood education programs in elementaries, additional career and tech education in the high schools, and funding for additional resources for the socio/emotional needs on the rise in students.  

However, BSD will be unable to sustain these investments.  As Mr. Grotting put it, ”None of these cuts are good for kids.”

(sigh)

No Quick Fix

The timing of all this is not ideal.  BSD must have their budget finalized and ready by June 30th, when the Oregon legislative session doesn’t start until the first of June.  Therefore, any tax package or reform created during that summer session wouldn’t be presented to voters until November, so IF the legislature agrees on changes, and IF those reforms are approved by voters, the relief wouldn’t be felt until spring 2020.

Lovely.

The Bright Side

Even with this impending armageddon, BSD still has some pros that will help it retains its position as a top Oregon school district, including:

  • Competitive salary schedule to attract top teachers

  • Early childhood education to manage the learning gap before it’s too large

  • The recent local option levy that supports acceptable class sizes

  • Recent bond that funds BSD’s infrastructure (meaning very little of our budget is used on improving current buildings and can be used for sheer education)

  • Option programs that give students and families a choice in middle and high schools

  • Career and tech programs

  • Dual credit, AP, & IB in our high schools

“We’re gonna feel it.”

Janet didn’t mince words as she prepped us with what to expect.  While all specifics are not known or publicly available, we can reasonably expect fewer support staff and a shortened school year, and the very real possibility of losing our PYP funding.  Class sizes will go up.

Teacher layoffs are also on the horizon for newly hired positions, who will be impacted first. While it won’t be as disruptive as the 2012 debacle, there may very well be a shift in staffing as teachers/staff are moved throughout the district at all levels. And we won’t know any of this until late summer.  JOY.

Plot Twist

And to make this year even MORE dramatic, contract negotiations are happening this spring between our teachers union and the District.  No decision on teacher movement will be made until these contracts are finalized. And remember, this current deficit number doesn’t include any rollup cost or cost of living increase for our certified staff.

The new contract must be approved by the BSD School Board and then is voted on by members, which should take place this June.

Phew! After all that, let’s move on to some less depressing topics…

Volunteering In the Classroom:  What’s Normal?

Bonny Slope does not have an overall, umbrella policy when it comes to the frequency of volunteer opportunities within the classroom.  Volunteer opportunities are driven by each individual teacher, and while some welcome any and all parents for many exciting, heart-pumping projects, others are more compact and controlled in what they need and expect from parents.

However, in general, volunteering does change as your child gets older.  Younger grades generally need more help with more intense art/production needs, while everything becomes more streamlined within the higher grades.  The general consensus in the room was that as your child ages, there will be fewer and fewer opportunities within the classroom working one-on-one with students.

Class List Modus Operandi

Always a hot topic among parents.  How EXACTLY are these class rosters created?  Well, it follows this basic model:

  • At the end of the year, all teachers from one grade collaborate to create equal sections for next year.  For example, the first grade teachers get together and discuss/review their students and put them into lists for next year’s second grade.

  • The lists should be as balanced as possible, meaning each should have an equal amount of girl/boy ratios, special ed students, ELL students, etc.

  • Once created, the lists are then given to the specialists, counselor and school psychologist to ensure a proper balance and that known personality conflicts are avoided.

  • Lists are not finalized until the week before school begins as new students are added.

Other Juicy Tidbits:

  • Art Lit’s culture lesson this year is Mexico!  Students can get excited for a lot of fun activities in April, including a Mariachi band, a taco tasting, and Mexican-themed art lit projects.

  • Parents looking for specific units of PYP can head over to the bulletin board outside the cafeteria and gym doors.

  • Our very own vice principal, Ali Montelongo, has been named principal of Cooper Mountain Elementary!

And that’s a wrap! Join us for our April Principal Chat on Friday, 4/26 at 2pm, with Cedar Park principal, Shannon Anderson.