CORVALLIS, Ore. (KMTR) -- Big cuts are ahead for the Corvallis School District as another multi-million dollar budget shortfall will impact staff levels again next school year.
The Corvallis 509J School District will lose about 4.5-million dollars next school year (2012-2013) forcing it to cut more than 20 positions.
The cut comes even with about 4.5-million dollars in funding from a local option levy and more than a million dollars in the use of rainy day reserve fund.
Corvallis School District's Superintendent Erin Prince says this is one of the toughest budgets the district has had to deal with in the last few years.
“Class sizes will go up, some services and delivery will look differently, we have to be creative, we have to think differently we can't keep doing business the same way,” Prince said in an interview with NewsSource 16 on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012.
Prince says a continued decline in state funding and district student enrollment are two of the main factors for the district's current budget situation.
In all, Corvallis Schools will cut 27 positions next school year. 20 of those positions are teaching jobs.
Most of the positions being cut will come through retirements and resignations, but 5 or 6 employees will get pink slips.
No programs will be lost, however, the district says class sizes will get bigger.
Over the last decade, Corvallis Schools have lost about 11% percent of their student base. For the 2011-2012 school year, the district saw one of its smallest kindergarten class enrollments ever.
The district says families are having a hard time affording housing in the city of Corvallis. In turn, many young families are leaving Corvallis schools for education in other surrounding public school districts.
To fill the budget gap caused by the enrollment drop, the district has been relying on a good chunk of reserve funding.
“We've got a long term unsustainable plan. You cannot live off reserves,” said Erin Prince.
“How do we find sustainable budget reductions that will last, but don't impact what we do best for our students in student learning? … That's the challenge,” said Prince.
Prince says the district is now in dialogue with Oregon State University and the city of Corvallis to work on a solution for the problem of declining enrollment.
The district says the cuts will fall evenly across its schools, however, it it will try to preserve elementary education first.
Corvallis Schools' budget committee has already approved the next budget. Next, it goes to the school board for a vote on June 20th, 2012.