School budget cuts unveiled 

A graph showing the $45 million revenue gap and the $41 million ending fund balance. Both were signs that Salem-Keizer’s budget was unhealthy and unsustainable and would lead towards significant issues in 2025 according to the report

The Salem Keizer Public School (SKPS) district has released its upcoming budget for the 2024-25 school year, including information for around $70 million in budget cuts across all funding. 

According to the 176-page report, this new, reduced budget reflects the district’s “attempt to hold the financial, educational and cultural health of the system in balance.” 

The current budget and reduction package was approved by the school board on April 16. 

The overall budget for the 2024-25 school year is $1.1 billion.

The unassigned general fund ($646 million) has an ending fund balance $60 million in contingency funding. The district left an estimated $27 million general fund gap between budgeted expenses as well as the revenue the district plans to acquire. 

The reasoning for this relies on the reductions needing to be done cannot be done all in the same year, according to the report. 

The district noted that they will continue to monitor the budget gap and “close it through vacancy and spending savings.” 

In all, the district will eliminate around 300 full-time positions as well as another 100 vacant ones. 

The report details how the 2024-25 budget cuts will affect the following areas: 

  • 15 full-time administrator positions both within the district and schools will be eliminated, equaling a $3 million reduction. This is in conjunction with another $9 million reduction in spending from administration as well. 
  • 224 full-time licensed teaching positions and other licensed positions including nurses, school mentors and various program associates will be cut for a total of $28 million
  • 139 full-time classified positions will be cut including graduation coaches, instructional assistants, school-based health assistants and various department-based positions for a total reduction of $10 million, according to the report. 

The report also contains assertions about what led to the budget crunch, detailing four main points: 

What schools are funded to do vs what they are expected to do does not match. Education institutions only receive funding for education, yet are responsible for a variety of other services such as food security, medical care and housing insecurity, according to the SKPS budget report. 

COVID funding is gone resulting in a lack of funding despite still facing many of the same issues brought about by the pandemic. 

The difference between what Oregon believes schools cost to operate and their actual costs in the 2023-25 biennium such as the rising cost of labor, seen previously in the recent budget negotiations between the district and teacher unions. 

There are fewer students but the students we have need more services and support to succeed. Due to declining enrollment in SKPS, the district receives less money, despite having the same if not more needs than other districts within Oregon. 

SKPS outlined a series of priorities for the district detailed in the report in regards to what they want to accomplish as well as what services they want to protect. 

The list includes district goals for students after the budget reduction including maintaining regular student attendance, keeping third graders reading at grade-level, putting ninth graders on track to graduate, maintaining a high four-year cohort graduation rate and fostering a sense of student belonging.

Services the district plans on keeping includes: extracurricular experiences such as performing arts, sports and music; Career and Technical Education (CTEC) opportunities for students; advanced placement courses such as AP or college-credit courses as well as certain social and mental health support. 

The report also mentions prioritization of special education services and teaching positions, retention of multilingual staff and teachers and continued and expanded dual language programs.

Interested community members can participate in the budget process by filling out a written comment form and submitting it to the committee, or signing up to speak at a meeting.

The next SKPS budget committee meeting is Tuesday, May 14 at 6 p.m. in the SKPS district boardroom located at 2575 Commercial St. 

Meeting agendas can be viewed at

A graph displaying the budget trends from the last four years including the districts expenses and revenue amounts for those years. The district still has a $60 million contingency fund for unexpected situations. 

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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