I submit herein the Proposed Bend-La Pine Schools’ Budget for fiscal year 2017-18. The proposed budget of $329.2 million for all funds is the result of the financial goals set by the Bend-La Pine Schools’ Board of Directors, staff, community, as well as the work of our internal budget team.
Bend-La Pine Schools is Oregon’s fifth largest school district. Its student population has steadily increased by an average of 300 students a year for more than three decades. We anticipate that this trend will continue and expect to support more than 18,350 students during the 2017-18 school year. We will do everything possible with the resources allocated herein to support the teaching and learning environments our students and staff deserve.
It is our expectation that all students graduate future-ready from Bend-La Pine Schools prepared to
The Board of Directors, in partnership with district leadership, has provided clear direction and focus towards this strategic effort through the development of the Board’s Ends/Goals Policy and its eight key World Class Outcomes, defining what it means to live out the District’s purpose of Educating Each Student to be a Thriving Citizen. Using clear and focused measurements, we have identified the outcomes we strive for at Bend-La Pine Schools and we continue to align our efforts and resources accordingly. Together we pledge our dedication to excellence and equity: high levels of success for all students.
Oregon’s current budget deficit at the state level, and the resulting under-investment in K-12 education, makes for extremely challenging times - yet we remain focused on continued high performance and improvement through the 2017-19 biennium.
In the following pages, you will find my recommendation for a $329.2 million all-funds investment into our communities’ schools next year. The General Fund Operations Budget totals $167.7 million and incorporates resources available to the district, including the following:
When comparing the 2017-18 General Fund resources detailed above to the funds currently available for the 2016-17 school year, you will note a marked decrease in service level. However, the newly established Oregon High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Fund, created as a result of the passage of Measure 98, is expected to provide new resources to support high school staffing and programming. With the addition of these fund dollars, the district should be able to maintain our current service level into the upcoming year.
The 2017-18 proposed budget maintains staffing levels and instructional days, continues universal full-day kindergarten, and continues to prioritize strategic investments in the key areas of Safety, Choice Options, World-Class Education, and System Performance. These critical strategic investments were identified during the 2016-17 budget process and continue to remain vital in support of our community expectations and the achievement of the Board of Director’s World Class Outcomes - specifically targeting needed growth in mathematics achievement, success for our linguistically diverse students, success for our students in poverty, and improved graduation rates.
These investments include the following:
Bend-La Pine Schools is focused on ensuring physically and psychologically safe, healthy learning environments for all students and staff.
Bend-La Pine Schools is dedicated to ensuring a pioneering spirit in the realm of high quality learning options within - and throughout - our schools.
Bend-La Pine Schools’ goal is to prepare students for the college or career paths of their choice.
Bend-La Pine Schools is committed to defining and measuring what matters most.
These investments were identified by analyzing student data, reviewing strategic measures, determining where improvement is needed to align to the district’s Comprehensive Plan, and incorporating a set of strategic priorities to achieve Bend-La Pine Schools purpose of Educating Each Student to be a Thriving Citizen. And, as outlined in Executive Limitation 10 on Financial Planning and Budgeting, the General Fund budgeted ending fund balance will be 5% of total resources. The importance of maximizing instructional time and maintaining continuity of instruction must remain at the top of our list of priorities. While student achievement results are at or near all-time highs, Bend-La Pine Schools must work - even in difficult financial times - to make sure all students attain excellence, regardless of socio-economic status, English language proficiency and/or disabilities.
With that said, it is impossible to present this budget proposal without acknowledging that the current funding level for Oregon K-12 schools is inadequate to fully meet the district's needs in many areas. Although we are presenting a budget that essentially sustains current operational levels across the district, I do not believe those levels are adequate to achieve the high goals we have set for our staff and students. We must be proactive with our legislators in advocating for increased funding in the next biennium. I am gravely concerned about a “new normal” for Oregon education that represents fewer days than most across the nation, as well as exorbitant class sizes and teaching loads for our dedicated educators.
And finally, as I present this proposed budget it must be noted that contract negotiations are just beginning with all of our employee groups. While the proposed budget maintains personnel costs, we do not yet have agreements in place. The agreements, once in place, may impact this plan and our operations in 2017-18.
If additional funding is made available during the 2017-19 biennium, the internal budget team recommends that these future strategic investments be considered:
This budget is built with the intent of continuing to promote high levels of student achievement, and progression of our students to post-secondary education and beyond. It works within our available resources to do what we believe is best for our students and families. We will continue to work as diligently as possible to find strategies to use available resources in the best manner possible to serve our current and future students. Our commitment to providing a World-Class education for our students will not waiver.
Together, we will continue on our positive trajectory full of hope. We will maintain recent strategic investments and focus resources to our schools, students and staff, while continuing to invest in central support services. Through innovations and partnerships, we will ensure all students succeed.
Thank you for your consideration of the 2017-18 Proposed Budget.
* Dr. David Conley, Educational Policy Improvement Center