by Craig Hawkins, Communications Director
Friday, April 3, 3:25 p.m.
The group discussed a potential statewide strategy and a statewide "number" ranging from $5.4 billion to $6.2 billion. Districts have different situations and different approaches, but the group seemed to agree that we should advocate for a number in the higher end of the range. Everyone agreed, though, that districts have a need for planning at various levels, as well as a a need for community processes and thorough communication about impacts of the various funding levels.
Kent Hunsaker shared the document, "Best Investment for Main Street? It's K-12 Schools."
Attendees encouraged Sager to work with the governor to provide greater leadership on the budget issues confronting schools, including working with employee groups to participate in finding solutions that preserve as many school days, classrooms, programs, etc., as possible.
Key points from Paul Warner:
- The national economy is still contracting at a rapid rate, so things are very uncertain and it’s a very difficult time to build a budget.
- Information since March shows that state revenues are tracking below the trend shown by the March forecast. State employment is much weaker than the estimate included in the March forecast. We are anticipating a lower level of unemployment in the May forecast and throughout 2009.
- Preliminary income tax collections are down about $40 million for individual taxpayers. Our real concern is on the corporate side, where payments have been roughly half of what was projected, and are down about $50 million.
- We think the May forecast will be down. But we are starting to see some early indications that this economy is bottoming out, in terms of housing, consumer spending and financial markets.
- In general, our overall scenario is that the recession will end late this year nationally. Unemployment, though, probably won’t peak until later in 2010, with Oregon reaching 12%.
Some of the key points framed by James Sager:
- When the governor released his budget Dec. 1, it included planning for $1 billion short of essential budget level. Since that time the state has lost roughly another $2 billion in revenue, and unemployment continues to rise up to 1 percent per month.
- Our concern is a year from now. After talking with variety of economists, we believe that the bottom is still out there a ways, and when you look at Oregon's history of being late getting in and late getting out (normally at least two quarters) of recessions, it may be early next year before hit bottom. It's possible the bottom could last a couple of years, and it could be four-to-five years before state revenue reaches historical trends for growth.
- We believe that we could be down another $2 billion in revenue a year from now (the Ways & Means co-chairs estimate $1.4 billion). We're concerned that the May 15 state revenue forecast may not capture the complete loss, so the legislature could, on paper, approve budgets at a higher rate than we will actually receive. That will cause the legislature to come back into special sessions. We're trying to avoid that.
- The additional $2 billion loss would leave schools with $5.422-$5.5 billion, after using all federal stimulus and reserves. That amount would include any SIF funding.
It's standing room only for the meeting today, with superintendents and business managers packing-to-overflowing the 120-person meeting room. First up will be governor's office representative James Sager.
Wednesday, April 1
To assist superintendents and business managers who are unable to attend, we'll be blogging live from the school funding meeting in Salem Friday. COSA will be joined by James Sager and Paul Warner for discussion of the revenue forecast and district budgeting for 2009-10. Here are the materials for the meeting, which begins at 1 p.m. at the Viticulture Center:
Overview of 2009-11 K-12 Funding
2009-10 School District Finance Distribution based on $6.2 and $6.0 billion
2009-10 School District Finance Distribution based on $5.0 and $5.8 billion
2009-10 School District Finance Distribution based on $5.8 and $5.6 billion
2009-10 School District Finance Distribution based on $5.6 and $5.4 billion
2009-10 ESD Finance Distribution based on $6.2 and $6.0 billion
2009-10 ESD Finance Distribution based on $6.0 and $5.8 billion
2009-10 ESD Finance Distribution based on $5.8 and $5.6 billion
2009-10 ESD Finance Distribution based on $5.6 and $5.4 billion