School cuts top $1.5 million

School cuts top $1.5 million

The Enterprise School Board cut another $309,000 from the fiscal 2004 budget this week, eliminating a total of seven teaching and classified staff positions.

The board voted 4-0 Monday to approve the cuts proposed by Superintendent Brad Royse.

The cuts represent approximately 8.7 percent of the school's $3.5 million budget.

Including the current round of cuts the school board has reduced expenses by $1.5 million over the past three years.

"This is the smallest cut we've made in three years," said Royse.

The superintendent said there is no end in sight, either, that he expects more cuts will have to be made next year.

"What we are hearing is it will be four to five years before school funding turns the corner," he said.

The number of teachers that will be employed at Enterprise after the cuts is exactly half of what it was when Royse went to work at Enterprise five years ago. The number of teachers has been reduced from 44 in 1998 to 22 after the latest cuts are implemented next fall. During that same five-year span enrollment has plummeted, from 640 to 439 students.

Royse said his current recommendation on staff reductions represents a "balancing act" between the solvency of the school and maintaining enough programs to avert a wholesale exodus of families wanting to find a more stable school environment somewhere else.

The staff reductions approved Monday night include two half time elementary teachers, a high school math and science teacher, a half time science teacher, and the home economics teacher, although she (Debbie Hadden) has agreed to come back next year and teach full-time for half-time pay. The cuts also include a half time executive secretary, an elementary school aide, a special education aide, a cook, and extended time for the vocational agriculture teacher.

"This is not a great list," said Royse, "It is not a list I feel good about."

Royse said that the budget has already been cut so severely that the only thing left to cut is people.

"This district has not bought a new computer in three years," he said.

Though the financial picture that the school administrators presented was decidedly grim, there was some good news as well.

The school posted high marks in all of the categories in the latest statewide benchmarks "report card" issued by the Oregon Department of Education, with students in all ages demonstrating proficiencies in all subjects above the statewide average.

"Morale has not been the highest but our teachers have not let down," Royse said.

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