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New programs funded but Di Chiro says cutbacks loom ahead By Alan Panebaker Ashland Daily Tidings Despite still-declining enrollment and a nagging slump in federal support, the Ashland School District budget committee offered glimmers of hop

Despite still-declining enrollment and a nagging slump in federal support, the Ashland School District budget committee offered glimmers of hope in a meeting Monday night.

The proposed 2006-2007 document allowed funding for the new K-8 John Muir school along with seven additional kindergarten aid positions.

Ashland Schools Superintendent Juli Di Chiro said dwindling enrollment has decreased the district&

s eligibility for funding, and it will have to make budget cuts.

&

If we&

re going to reduce revenue, that&

s where it&

s going to come out (in staff reductions),&

Di Chiro said.

The superintendent noted that &

because of retiring and resigning teachers &

the district has yet to resort to a lay-off mode, but she hinted that it may become a possibility if revenue does not increase.

&

There are lots of very good reasons why you don&

t want to be in layoff mode,&

Di Chiro said. &

If we do not have enough retirements or resignations, we may have to go back to it.&

The proposed budget assumes class sizes will increase with fewer teachers and compensated at the kindergarten level with the addition of the new aids.

The budget committee discussed better planning for even less funding in the 2007-2008 year if enrollment continues to decline. Di Chiro said the district always budgets for a lower amount of tax revenue than it expects to get in order to save a surplus budget for the next year.

For 2006-2007, the proposed budget planned for a rollover of $1,247,492 &

5.74 percent of the proposed revenue.

The Ashland School District also received an extra bump in funding after an April 20 special legislative session alloted $42 million of lottery revenue to education. Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed the bill in Medford this morning that will give more than $200,000 to the district &

about $64 per student annually.

State sources should make up nearly 45 percent of the Ashland Public Schools revenue for the 2006-2007 year according to the proposed budget, so the committee must juggle the rest of its revenue accordingly.

Rick Barth, the committee&

s presiding officer, said this act requires a lot of planning to prepare for coming years.

&

The real uncertainty is what the legislature is going to do,&

Barth said.

While total federal funds for the district should drop by $165,200 from 2005-2006, business administrator Pam Lucas said revenue from the Youth Activities Levy (from the parks department) will add $117,849 more from last year.

Budget committee members will have until May 18 when they meet again to ask questions and amend the proposed budget. The committee will vote whether to approve it May 24.

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