It is an interesting time for school budget planning in Oregon!  On the one hand, we see headlines in the newspaper that proclaim Oregon’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in decades.  On the other hand, in the same edition of the newspaper, we read that state school funding is being decreased to help cover a significant deficit in state revenue.

In Douglas County SD #15, we face some of our own “one hand/other hand” scenarios.  On the one hand, our recent increases in student enrollment will help offset the proposed reductions in state funding.  On the other hand,  we must continue on a path of fiscal conservatism given the uncertainty of state support for public schools and the ambiguity that comes from having approximately half of our students living outside the district attendance boundaries .

To best navigate these somewhat murky waters, we will continue on the path which we began a couple years ago: being fiscally conservative while making modest, thoughtful increases in spending in areas that will best serve our students.


Education is a people business.  As in every school district, the largest expenditure in the Days Creek budget is for personnel costs.  This budget includes the following increases in personnel costs effective July 1, 2017:  

--funds to cover a 5% increase in PERS costs;

--a step increase for all employees;

--a cost-of-living increase for employees (amount to be determined through bargaining)

--an increase in the insurance cap for employees (amount to be determined through bargaining)

--make the temporary education assistant position permanent (7.5 hours per day for 157 days)

--make the temporary day-shift custodian position permanent  (4 hours per day for 260 days, or equivalent)

--make the temporary night-shift custodian position permanent (4 hours per day for 260 days, or equivalent)

The following increases are included in this budget proposal; however, final decisions for these two increases will be made only after the following issues have been resolved: 1) state revenue projections have been finalized; 2) bargaining for both classified and licensed employees has been completed; 3) enrollment projections have been finalized.

--increase the Musician-in-Residence position from three hours daily to six hours daily (to expand to middle school and provide a planning period)

--increase the math tutor from three hours daily to four hours daily (to cover all of Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and a full period of individual tutoring)

Teaching and Learning

During 2016-17, the district purchased new math textbooks for grades K-12 and fully implemented the new curriculum districtwide.  

The district continues on a path to update all its curriculum and for the 2017-18 year this will include the purchase of new science textbooks for students in grades 7-12.  


The district has submitted a $75,000 grant proposal to Ford Family Foundation.  If funded, the district will purchase an additional iPad cart for elementary students, and two additional laptop carts (one for middle school and one for high school).  Funds from Ford Family Foundation would also be used to update the equipment used in the Video Production and Robotics classes.  (The district does not plan to purchase this added equipment during the 2017-18 year without the support of Ford Family Foundation, but will include it in a future budget cycle if the grant is not funded.)

District funding will be used to continue making progress on our long-range technology improvement plan, which includes, among other things, replacing twenty percent of our hardware annually so that all technology is kept up to date.  

Athletics and Activities

We will continue to provide a variety of athletic opportunities for students during the 2017-18 school year, but no new athletic offerings are being considered during this budget cycle.  While the district had hoped to be able to pay a stipend for a cheerleading coach and a student council advisor, neither of these initiatives made it into this budget cycle, but will be considered again in the future.

Operations and Service

In the area of operations and maintenance, the district replaced the flooring in three classrooms and all office spaces during the summer 2016.  The district also installed new entry doors at all entrances to the main building during fall 2016.  These doors provide greater security with locking mechanisms that be controlled in the front office.  

The district was awarded a $25,000 grant to conduct a seismic assessment of the facility in spring 2017.  It is expected that once the seismic assessment is complete, the district will be able to apply for additional grant funds to help resolve structural deficiencies that come to light through this assessment.

Improvements to the facility planned for 2017-18 include $10,000 for improvements in the wood shop; replacement of windows in the high school wing; replacing flooring in three classrooms; repairing flooring in the gymnasium; painting the exterior of the building; and sealing and re-lining the parking lot.



The district is committed to being a good steward of the financial resources entrusted to it and to maintaining a healthy planned reserve and contingency fund to ensure money is available for emergency situations and to adjust for any unexpected changes in enrollment.

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We have worked diligently to make budget planning as transparent as possible and to directly involve employees and key stakeholders in making decisions about how to best utilize projected funds.  Teachers and programs will continue to have line item budgets within the instructional budget that will allow each department to know in advance the amount of money they have for instructional materials and supplies to best operate their programs.  

The district has made significant progress, but must continue its efforts to recruit and retain students, to be wise and cautious in its purchasing, and to budget not just for today, but with the future in mind.

Posted by Dr. Mark Angle On 01 May, 2017 at 8:48 AM  

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