By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes
The Salem-Keizer school board adopted the district’s 2011-12 budget Tuesday night, a budget that involved personnel cuts that no one liked making.
Adoption of the $621,978,721 budget came on a 5-1 vote, with director Ron Jones opposing passage and director Chuck Lee absent.
Noting that three elementary schools, including Lake Labish just northeast of Keizer, were being discontinued as individual schools while a middle school and an elementary school were being built in West Salem, Jones said the board and administration should have examined the general fund more closely and eliminated such programs as teen parenting.
Director Steve Chambers replied, “We’re not closing the schools; we’re repurposing them.” The school buildings still will be used for classes.
Director Chris Brantley said that, although he agreed with Jones that there should have been more exchanges of ideas, the reductions in the budget seemed unavoidable.
The staff cuts totaled a full-time equivalent of about 420. People spoke from the audience about possibilities of saving library teaching jobs. Chambers said the budget addressed as well as possible his primary concerns of maintaining library collections and teaching library skills.
Also approved were appropriations for the budget, imposing and categorizing taxes, and confirming the continuing requirement for the asset replacement fund. A resolution to confirm a change in the targeted ending balance for the general fund was tabled, and the board is expected to consider it at its July 26 retreat.
The board voted not to rejoin the Oregon School Boards Association for 2011-12. Board members have disapproved of recent OSBA actions, and Chambers said that withdrawing from the OSBA did not mean that the board would stop cooperating with other school boards.
Although the board normally holds its regular meetings the second Tuesday of the month, next month’s meeting will be July 19.