Dear SLSD Families,
We started this school year with great hope for the new investments coming from the state to all school districts. During the fall and winter, we engaged students, staff, families and community members in developing a plan for adding $2.4 million dollars to our already increased budget. Based on this hope, we developed a budget plan that our Budget Committee approved Monday night to add greater supports and services for our students.
Even as we closed schools and began providing new services during the coronavirus pandemic, we hoped for these increased investments in schools. As we close the ninth week of staying home, we face a new reality. More than one-sixth of the workers in Oregon have been put out of work. This global crisis will significantly impact tax revenues and publicly funded budgets in the coming months and years due to the large number of workers unemployed. Oregon schools will once again experience economic uncertainty and some very difficult financial times to come.
In a press release issued Monday, Governor Kate Brown said, “With many Oregon businesses restricted or shut down, travel suspended and jobs lost, we expect the revenue that we receive to fund state services will also be significantly reduced...which will lead to some really difficult decisions. Our early discussion indicated this impact could be a reduction of $3 billion for the current budget period. We are exploring all available options to weather this recession, and I have directed state agencies to prepare prioritized reduction plans equaling a 17 percent reduction for the upcoming fiscal year as a planning exercise to explore all options.”
South Lane School District will see a $3.9 million cut next year if across-the-board cuts are made at this level, with additional budget shortfalls expected in the following years. The anticipated new state investments in school supports are no longer expected to make their way to Oregon Schools in full, if at all, next school year. As we await more concrete financial information expected next week, South Lane School District is already slowing down hiring and spending, discussing furlough days and anticipating layoffs as we develop budget contingency plans. We will join our colleagues across the state in advocating for the state to mitigate impacts and protect school funding as much as possible, while we continue to connect, care for and educate our students through distance learning.
In order to save money for next year and lessen the impacts of the potential reductions in the 2020-21 school year, the district will be furloughing all staff four days in the last four weeks of school. Both of our district’s union groups support this decision in order to protect the financial health of the district and instructional time and programs for our students in the fall. The district has applied for a program called "Work Share Oregon" that with the federal CARES Act funds will allow our employees to collect state unemployment including and benefits from the CARES Act. Several districts in Lane County and across Oregon are also furloughing staff and implementing this program.
Implementation of furlough days requires a change in student school days. Students will not have school on the following dates:
- May 22, 2020
- May 29, 2020
- June 5, 2020
- June 11, 2020
I commit to you that our “Children Come First”. They will remain at the forefront of every decision we make as a result of the budget shortfall caused by COVID-19. We will consider all options as we head into this uncertain future. With our community supporting us we will deliver a meaningful education, persevere together and become stronger.
Yvonne Curtis, D.Ed.
South Lane School District
Warren H. Daugherty Aquatic Center
Because Lane County has been given permission to begin opening services today, people have started calling our pool to see if it is open. We have not yet been given permission to open the pool.
We realize that keeping students engaged is becoming more and more difficult. Our staff are trying to adjust by creating learning activities that are more interactive and fun. We will continue to reach out in an effort to connect and check in on the well-being of our students and families.
We are still unsure what the guidelines will be for the fall but are already exploring different options. We will share the details as we get a plan developed.
- Thank you to our transportation and food service staff who are on the frontline providing this essential service.
- South Lane SD staff has delivered over 50,000 meals since March 17th.
South Lane SD Kindergarten Online Registration
This is the time of year when we begin registering kindergarten students for school in the fall. However, due to COVID-19 and the fact that we are still on a Stay Home Stay Safe order from the Governor, we are restructuring kindergarten registration. Staff is currently learning how to register families through an online process. With the move to an online process, we know some families may need assistance with the process. When staff are ready and have a plan for supporting families with the registration process, we will communicate the plan on all school websites.
Food/Learning Packet Delivery
Food and learning packet distribution at schools and by buses will continue through the end of the school year. Due to furlough days, food previously handed out at schools or delivered by buses on Fridays will now be included with the food distributed on Thursdays. Due to the furlough day on May 22nd and the Memorial Day Holiday on May 25th, three days worth of food will be distributed for students on Thursday, May 21st. Also due to the Memorial Day holiday, packets for the week of May 25th will be available on Tuesday, May 26th at the normal locations.