School district faces million dollar loss

DALLAS — Budgeting just got trickier for Dallas School District.

A pattern of declining enrollment and how the state reconciles projected enrollment with the actual number of students who attended has the district losing money, to the tune of $1 million in this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

That significantly impacts the 2016-17 budget plan the district is working on now, but shouldn’t affect this school year.

On Monday, Business Manager Tami Montague updated members of the Dallas School Board on how the financial picture had changed for the district.

“Obviously we had hoped to go into next fiscal year on a more stable financial position with a higher ending fund balance,” Montague said.

She noted that the district like, all government entities in the state, would likely be hit with Oregon Public Employee Retirement System rate increase in 2017-18.

Montague said predictions for the next two years have enrollment continuing to fall, with an estimated loss of 138 students in 2016-17 and 63 students in 2017-18.

“We keep hoping that we will see some increase because of new construction or families moving to town, but we are just not seeing it,” Montague said.

She said the district will have several employees retire this year and is in a wait-and-see mode on hiring replacements.

“At this point, we have a plan to have a balanced budget for next year even with this decrease,” Montague said.

That plan will be presented in full to the district’s budget committee on April 25. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the district office board room, 111 SW Ash St., Dallas.

“We are not seeing an end to the declining enrollment anytime soon,” Montague said.

In other business, the district:

• Learned it had received a $1,492,900 grant for a seismic upgrade at Whitworth Elementary School.

For more information the Dallas School District enrollment losses and the budget, see the April 20 edition of the I-O.

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