The Oregon school board last Tuesday eliminated eight classified positions as part of the closure of Wynn Elementary School.
Those positions include a school nurse, cafeteria employees, and a playground monitor.
“We’re closing Wynn at the end of this year, so these are positions that aren’t going to be needed anymore,” School Board President Eric Heintschel said after the meeting. “Most of the kids at Wynn are going to go to Jerusalem Elementary School, which has its own staff.”
The school board has made about $9 million in spending cuts in the last few years, including staffing reductions, due to less revenue going into the general budget. Since 2005, the school board has cut 50 teaching positions and eliminated or reduced programs and services, and has negotiated wage and benefits concessions from all employees. An additional $2.8 million reduction in operating expenses went into effect in January, including the elimination of busing for high school students, a reduction of cleaning services, reductions in staffing positions and programs, and the closing of Wynn Elementary School.
Heintschel said any further cuts in the district will have a negative impact on students.
“It’s impossible to get comfortable right now considering what’s going on at the state level with school funding. We are in a good position at the moment. We do have, based on our five year forecast, positive cash through 2013. So we’re comfortable for a couple of years because we have money. But we’re still not at a level where we’re running the district, at a minimum, at a break-even level. We’re already impacting education in the district, but we can still maintain the quality of education with the cuts we’ve made so far,” said Heintschel. “Any more cuts, we’re digging into the educational process in the district.”
The board is continuing to consider cost saving measures through retirement and attrition, he said.
“We need to look at possibly putting a levy on the ballot because after 2013, we’re going to have a deficit. The board hasn’t committed to a date yet. We’re looking at every option so we can continue to be proactive as we have been in the last three years. So, despite all the cuts, we’re not out of the woods yet. And that doesn’t include anything that comes down from the governor that basically impacts the schools further that we just are not aware of right now,” he said.