The Central Point School District is where “tradition meets innovation” and as such, we are traditionally underfunded yet innovative in managing our schools and programs efficiently. The 2015-17 biennium promised a slow turn toward increased revenue and stability and, after 6 years of relying on our cash carryover to close the gap, our revenue finally exceeded our expenditures. In fact, our revenue is expected to exceed projections by 1.7 million.
Our increased revenue for 2015-16 was the result of two factors- increased enrollment and an uptick in the economy (primarily state tax revenues and increased property tax receipts). Last year we opened enrollment in our district-a strategy designed to allow for the retention of students on existing inter-district transfers and to increase the number of new students who enroll in our district. We were cautious and did not project any additional revenue attributed to open enrollment, but we did see an increase in revenue resulting from additional students who enrolled and remained in the district-nearly a million dollars. Further, local real estate receipts were higher than expected due to increased assessed property values and the district also received Federal Forest Fees-a revenue source that was completely unexpected.
The 2016-17 school year is the second year in the biennium and unlike previous years, the funding for the second year is relatively flat (usually the funding is split 49/51 to allow for annual roll up costs). Additionally, economic reports indicate modest growth in the Oregon economy which supports a more stable outlook on future funding. Although we expect to see the increase in local real estate receipts to continue, we do not expect to receive Federal Forest Fees in 2016-17.
Our projected beginning fund balance is $3.3 million (8%) and our projected revenue is $43.3 (including beginning fund balance). Our revenue projections are based on flat enrollment going into 2016-17. Even though our open enrollment policy significantly increased our ADM and revenue in 2015-16, we expect a stable enrollment to slight increase for 2016-17 (changes in OARs have restricted inter-district transfers and the impact of our open enrollment policy will stabilize after the first year).
The 2016-17 budget is status quo-we are neither reducing programs nor adding any significant programs. We will maintain the staffing increases from last year to support additional enrollment and full day kindergarten.
Additions to the budget include: 1.0 Campus Security and .5 FTE in college counseling. We have also budgeted for 2.0 FTE in contingency positions in the event that enrollment does increase. Our roll up costs for existing contractual obligations in personnel (STEPS, COLAs and increased benefit costs) are accounted for in the 2016-17 budget. We have also budgeted for $150K in bond planning expenses. Overall expenditures for 2016-17 represent an increase of $2.8 million above the 15-16 budget.
Challenges and Opportunities
- Special Education costs continue to increase. Last year we moved some programs out of the regional services offered through SOESD and into our district in an effort to reduce costs and increase services to our students. In 2016-17 we will continue to determine where we can serve our students in our own schools in a more cost efficient way. However, the 2016-17 budget reflects an increase in Special Education costs.
- Class sizes continue to be above average for both Oregon and the region. Our district operates with fewer dollars per student than our neighboring districts and fewer dollars than the Oregon average; there is nowhere that this gap is more obvious than in class size. Increased enrollment will allow us to retain current staffing levels and add additional staff.
- Our facilities continue to be a challenge: heating and cooling issues; school safety; universal design for student access; classroom space in our in-town schools; and many other issues that emerge from well worn and well loved facilities. The district will conduct a demographic study and building assessment to determine how we might best improve our school facilities.
In spite of the challenges above, we continue to consider how we can better serve students and families, increase efficiencies and invest our few dollars in the programs and services with the best return on investment.
District 6 is dedicated to helping each student reach his or her full potential. The outcomes identified in our strategic planning process in 2014 remain our focus: Core Knowledge; Creative Problem Solving; Collaboration; Transition; Communication and Character. Our 2016-17 budget reflects the programs and talented staff that we know will make a difference in every child’s success.