Day: December 3, 2012

A busy giving season

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Each year, Audrey Butler is knee-deep in a project that takes up a whole week right before Christmas. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Butler is in charge of the Keizer Network of Women (KNOW) Giving Baskets program. Once a Keizer Chamber of Commerce activity, Butler expanded the program and has run it the past five years. “Somebody has to do it,” she said. “I keep thinking about passing it on, and I will at some point. But I will never stop working with it. It’s a passion of mine to take care of people.” The process starts in June, when school counselors in Keizer are notified and asked to start thinking of students who could use some gifts during the holidays. Nearly 125 families and 372 students are being helped this year. By mid-October, Butler and the KNOW members are sorting through the requests and figuring out who gets what gifts. For a family with multiple children, care is taken to make sure each child gets an equal number of gifts. Tags are on Giving Trees at five Keizer locations: St. Edward Catholic Church, Big Town Hero, Schoolhouse Square Starbucks, McNary Golf Club and the Courthouse Athletic Club. Gifts need to be dropped off by Dec. 7. Gifts are picked up Monday, Dec. 10, which kicks off the busy week for...

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School district looking at $20 million deficit

By HERB SWETT For the Keizertimes Another deficit projection greeted the Salem-Keizer School District Budget Committee at its first 2012-13 meeting Tuesday. The 2012-13 deficit, estimated at more than $20.5 million after a $500,000 technology investment that the district administration has considered necessary for maintaining quality of education, represents a much smaller drop in resources than that of the 2011-12 budget, but it means additional cuts in expenses, Mike Wolfe, district chief operating officer, told the committee. Wolfe distributed charts showing that the share of Oregon’s state budget for kindergarten through 12th-grade education has consistently dropped since the 2003-05 biennium, and that Oregon’s per-student spending has declined compared to the national average. Percentages of the state budget for total education, followed by those for K-12, were 58.7 and 44.8 for 2003-05, 55.8 and 42.7 for 2005-07, 54.7 and 41.5 for 2007-09, 50.8 and 38.8 for 2009-11 and 51.1 and 39.1 for 2011-13. Oregon’s per-student spending was 103.7 percent of the national average for the 1997-98 academic year, 92.9 percent for 2007-08 and 90.7 percent for 2008-09. Superintendent Sandy Husk told the committee that the primary goals of the school system remain having students graduate on time and having them demonstrate...

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