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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow LA GRANDE CHIEF READIES CUT LIST

LA GRANDE CHIEF READIES CUT LIST

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

The La Grande School District is preparing to make between $250,000 and $300,000 in budget cuts that will take effect by late January.

A total of three to four teaching and non-teaching positions will be cut, said La Grande School District Superintendent Jay Rowell.

Most of the cuts will involve full-time positions. In addition, non-personnel items in the budget will be trimmed.

The reduction is necessary because of reduced state funding brought on by the slumping economy. The economic slowdown has reduced the amount of income tax revenue the state is receiving.

Rowell will present a plan for proposed cuts to the school board on Wednesday. Rowell will talk to the board in executive session because his plan will involve personnel cuts. Executive sessions are closed to the public.

After receiving board input Rowell will meet Thursday with the staff members who will be affected. No board action is necessary for the cuts to be made.

The reductions that are not related to personnel will take effect immediately. The personnel reductions will not take effect completely until late January because of contracts, Rowell said.

"This is tough. I wish I did not have to do it,'' Rowell said.

Unfortunately there are two other dark clouds on the La Grande School District's financial horizon. Earlier this month the state announced a $111 million shortfall in the revenue forecast for the remainder of the 2001-2003 biennium. If the state makes across-the-board cuts to handle this shortfall, the La Grande School District's share of these cuts will be about $200,000. This reduction would have to be made for the current school year.

The 2003 Legislature will probably vote in January on how to handle the cuts necessary because of the shortfall, Rowell said.

The La Grande School District's financial picture is further clouded by the proposed state income tax surcharge that voters will decide on in January. Failure of the surcharge would cost the La Grande School District about $400,000 for this academic year.

 
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