Corvallis schools could lose $5 million in funding due to proposed state budget


El Guo

A photo illustration depicting a check being cut in half by scissors on May 17. The Oregon State Department of Education is giving Oregon Public Schools less funding than the needed amount.

Alexander Banks, News Contributor

Governor Tina Kotek’s proposed state budget released at the beginning of the year could lead to a loss in funding for Corvallis schools. 

Governor Kotek’s $9.9 billion proposal is $400 million more than the projections proposed in December. Conversely, the budget would be $400 million less than the $10.3 billion needed to adequately fund schools in Oregon, according to the Oregon Association of School Business Officials. 

If Kotek’s 2023-2025 proposal is approved by the Oregon State Legislature it could lead to an estimated $5 million loss in funding to Corvallis, leading to program and job slashes due to budget cuts.  

Inflation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and $350 billion in emergency funding due to The American Rescue Plan has caused schools to increase their budgets and programs. However, the money is beginning to run out although the problems still remain. 

The Oregon School Boards Association reported fall test results showing many students behind in core classes, while teachers are also reporting increased numbers of students struggling socially and emotionally.

“District leadership, staff, and school board members are currently advocating for increased state funding for K-12 education,” Corvallis School District Superintendent Ryan Noss said. 

Furthermore, although a loss of $5 million would equate to 50 staffing positions, none of the staffing positions included in the reduction are teachers, according to Noss.

“The behavioral staff changes due to budget reductions are all at the elementary level,” Noss wrote. “In making these decisions, our district considered how to most effectively address behavior, assessment, and health room support at the elementary level while making necessary staffing reductions.”

In February, teachers walked out of Linus Pauling Middle School in protest of bad student behavior and a need for more administrative support. However, even among budget cut speculation the district has made an effort to give those teachers the support they need. Some changes include:

  • Board approved funding for a middle school alternative pathway program.
  • Schools modifying the electronic referral system for improved communication to staff members about the administrative response to behavioral referrals. 
  • In March, the district met with teachers to create one document addressing responses to student behavior that staff will consistently use across Linus Pauling and Cheldelin middle school.

According to Noss, many of the staff affected by budget cuts will continue to have other positions in the district. Furthermore, recruitment will slow down while staffing positions will be reviewed based on necessity. Corvallis School District will review and make decisions on how to use the remaining temporary funds that will run out on June 30, 2024. 

Linn Benton Community College reported they will be eliminating the Computer Science and Criminal Justice programs from their curriculum at the end of the 2023-24 academic year, due to budget cuts. According to the school, current students will only have 15 months to finish their degree. 

“This has been a very difficult time,” Lisa Avery, LBCC president, said in a press release. “Despite the challenging climate, I know LBCC will continue to fulfill our mission of economic empowerment for our students and our communities.”

LBCC also plans to cut three full-time librarians and raise tuition by six percent, approved by the LBCC Board of Education. In addition, the Adult Basic Skills program, which helps adults develop skills in arts, math, science and more, will be redesigned and operated on a lower budget, according to an LBCC press release. 

The LBCC Faculty Association claims the administration violated its contract by not including faculty members in the decision-making process, which would have allowed them to present alternative solutions to budget cuts, according to the Albany Democrat-Herald.  

The college has projected a revenue shortfall of $4 million by 2025. 

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