What IS Systemic Change?

Welcome to Jim Needham's

"A Former Board member's view from the OTHER side of the table."
Molalla River "BoardWatch" Website

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Since the Board of Education will no longer be providing video-taping for cablecast (effective July, 2002), suspended delivery of the "Molalla River Reporter" and stopped communication with the "Educational Ambassadors" (September, 2002) I have tried to provide information regarding education concerns for interested persons:

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At the regular Board meeting, February 14, 2002, the Board approved a five-year contract with First Student, Inc. on the recommendation of Crikette Lovejoy and Alice Ericksen.  The Board did not get bids from any other transportation companies.  The cost of this transportation contract represents over 10% of the Molalla River School District Budget.
When queried how much the shortfall in the Molalla River School District budget would be "if there was NO reduction in State Funding", Alice Ericksen said it would be $620,000.00.  The Board concurred that their goal was to maintain class sizes, preserve the current level of electives; and maintain existing extra-curricular activities.

An Open Letter to the Community

Yes, the District is facing some major budget shortfalls for the 2002-2003 school year.  According to the OSBA's "Outlook & Review" (January 9, 2002), "K-12 could face $304 million cut" which means that "Districts would lose about $465 per student".  According to the March 2001 estimate of the District extended ADMw for 2001-2002 we would've received $3,417.20 per student (subject to Federal and Statutory adjustments).  If the extended ADMw for 2002-2003 was about the same as for the 2001-2002 school year that would translate into approximately a 13.6% reduction in revenues from the state. The state contribution, however, has averaged about 69% of the total budget for years between 1994 and 2002.  OSBA also suggests that "Until Oregonians seriously consider changing the way the state finances public schools and the state's essential government services, we will continue to face shortfalls."  In fact, they say that "Projections tell us that at the next legislative session in 2003 we will face a $1 billion shortfall."

"The latest 'official' estimate for next year's revenue for our district, is about $500,000 less than this year.  We have also recently learned that the School Improvement Fund will not be available for next year. For us, that's another $500,000. Add to that the approximate $500,000 shortfall in our cash carry-over from the fall and the approximate $970,000 that salary increases will cost if all current staff remain...".  So what does all this mean?

The District is currently conducting meetings of parents and staff at each of the District's eight facilities.  The contributions of the participants at these meetings will be considered by the site councils and staff at each of these facilities to develop their budget proposals.  These proposals will then be submitted to the District Budget Committee, and subsequently to the Board of Directors.  In the MRSD's monthly bulletin there were three possible areas suggested that the community should consider as possible budget priorities:  Elective Classes (art, music, PE, etc); Lower class sizes; and Extra-curricular activities for Middle and High School (sports, clubs, etc.).  If you have any suggestions for budget cuts or recommendations for priorities, PLEASE submit your suggestion over this website, the District Office (http://www.molallariv.k12.or.us/staff.html), or one of the community meetings.