April 01, 2002 11:00 pm

By Gary Fletcher

Observer Staff Writer

ENTERPRISE Dealing with a projected $572,500 budget deficit has started exacting a toll in the Enterprise School District.

In a near-repeat of last years cut of $600,000 and eight teachers, seven teachers have received notice of changes in job status. Four were cut from next years staff and three of the positions will be reduced to half-time. Like last year, a retiring teacher is also not being replaced, and the budget will not include a cash carryover.

The school board reviewed its budget reduction measures in a meeting Monday night. The district must cut its budget because of the loss of state funding due to declining enrollment.

A possible salvation on the distant horizon might be the Enterprise Education Foundation, which is raising funds to save co-curricular programs such as art, music, home-ec, agriculture and sports.

Foundation raises funds

Approximately one-third of the districts patrons attended a March 20 forum, presented by the foundation. About $75,000 has been raised toward the groups $300,000 annual goal. Ninety percent of the tax-deductible contributions are pledged to continue for five years.

Thats a phenomenal public response, Foundation president Mike Wiedeman said. Were pretty excited, pretty optimistic that well be within striking distance of our goal by summer.

The foundation also plans to mail an appeal to 1,500 alumni of Enterprise schools and will solicit support from some 40 corporations doing business in Wallowa County, Wiedeman said.

The foundation is looking for 1,000 friends of the school to commit the cost of a soda (82 cents) per day ($300 annually) for five years.

This community is strong-willed, Wiedeman said. They want good schools, and were going to give them what they want.

To thank the patrons, the foundation is sponsoring a complimentary spaghetti feed from 7 to 8:30 p.m. April 10 where questions and concerns can be addressed.

A change has been made in

the school boards cost-cutting strategy.

A proposal failed that would have paid the Wallowa County Education Service District $15,000 to do the work of the district clerk.

Of the 17 audience members, one spoke in opposition to the district losing fiscal control to another agency, and asked the board to listen to the accountant on the board, Randy Anderson.

Anderson explained that the $93,000 cut from office administration included not replacing Superintendent Bill Eggers who is resigning, but it did not specify another position.

Anderson voted against the motion. Directors Kathy Siebe and Vetie Stenkamp voted for it.

However, only a unanimous vote could have passed it in the absence of board members Bill Ables and Joe Stangle.

After meeting with teachers Monday, Eggers recommended to the board that it not adopt a four-day class schedule, as Joseph and Wallowa schools have done.

Some teachers do not want to reduce their contact time with students. The board will consider the matter in a work session at 7 a.m. Thursday.

Another item postponed was a charter school application. A decision could be made at the boards May 6 meeting.