Budget Committee sends district budget to School Board

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
The Lebanon School Board Budget Committee is proposing a $48.2 million General Fund budget for 2020-21, with room for flexibility in regards to how COVID-19 will affect the economy.
“The financial outlook for the 2020-21 school year is much more challenging to the negative impact on tax revenue from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Superintendent Bo Yates in the budget message to the district’s Budget Committee, which met June 4 and 11 to review the proposed budget.
Prior to the pandemic, the district was preparing to implement the Student Success Act (2.SM) along with a fully funded Measure 98 (lM), a “game changing” investment, he said. The crisis caused substantial reductions to Oregon’s most significant revenue sources, including income and business taxes, lottery revenues, and fuel taxes.
“The guidance that is being provided by the Oregon Department of Education is that we should anticipate a $490 million reduction to the state school fund for 2020-21,” Yates said.
That translates to a $3.5 million decrease in funding for the LCSD 2020-21 school year, he said. To adjust for that, there has been extensive spending cuts over the fourth quarter that should help support an increased beginning fund balance for the 2020-21 budget.
The 2020-21 budget uses a $9 billion State School Fund appropriation as a best-case scenario, he said.
“It is important to remember that we are building our yearly budget based on projected tax revenue. In order to have spending authority for these funds, we are budgeting at the highest reasonable funding level,” Yates said. “Contingency budgets have been developed in anticipation that we may not receive full funding from any of our revenue sources.”
Budget focal points include: incremental staffing reductions made through attrition, a projected 30 to 40 percent reduction in both the Student Success Act and Measure 98 funds, higher property and liability insurance costs, capital improvements generated through the recently approved construction excise tax, increased custodial supply expenses for frequent deep cleaning, and increased mental health support.
LCSD also expects to receive $900,000 in Federal CARES Act funds that will be used to prevent deeper budget cuts.
“This is the year where you won’t see a bunch of impact,” Lewis said. “The next two years is where we are gonna start seeing the big impact. As a board, as a budget committee, that’s what we need to start focusing on.”
Voting unanimously to approve the proposed budget were Chair Jason Pottorf, Tom Oliver, Mike Martin, Richard Borden, Tammy Schilling, Todd Gestrin, Todd Gestrin, Terry Deacon and William Barish. Jeff Vandiver and Kris Latimer were absent.
The Lebanon School Board will review details and vote on the budget at its board meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 25. The meeting will be held remotely, on Zoom. To watch the meeting live online, visit the district’s  YouTube channel, LCSD Board Meeting Stream.