Uptick in revenue brings robust school budget

Seaside High School and other buildings in the district will benefit from greater revenues.

Money reserved to prepare bond measure for November ballot

By Nancy McCarthy

For the Seaside Signal

With an uptick in revenue through property taxes and stable finances, the Seaside School District will add a few more teachers next year and make essential repairs at all four schools.

The district’s budget committee received its first look at the 2016-17 budget Tuesday night and will continue discussion on it May 17.

Oregon is experiencing a “full throttle rate of growth” in revenue from taxes and building permits, said Superintendent Doug Dougherty, and the Seaside district is experiencing the same phenomenon.

The budget includes a $19.53 million general fund, with revenue coming mostly from property taxes and timber revenues. A five-year local option levy, approved by voters last November, also added $1.2 million to the budget.

Because its property values are higher than the average throughout Oregon, the Seaside district does not receive state education funds.

While the receipts from state forest timber sales are expected to be lower this year, more sales are expected in 2017, so revenue could be higher than expected, Dougherty said.

In his budget message, Dougherty said the district’s strategy next year is to “evaluate the current needs of our students, target areas that need enrichment and focus our resources to provide a well-rounded education.”

Dougherty also said the district will place a bond measure on next November’s ballot to relocate the district’s schools out of the tsunami inundation zone. To prepare the ballot measure, including architectural and engineering fees and other services, the district could spend up to $540,000. However, that amount depends on the proceeds received from the sale of district-owned property near Surf Pines. The district hopes to receive $335,000 from the sale.

A $128.8 million bond measure to relocate the schools on a hill east of Seaside Heights Elementary School failed in 2013.

The 4.5 full-time-equivalent personnel to be hired include a social studies teacher at Broadway Middle School; a full-time teacher to reduce class size; a half-time curriculum director; a part-time technology support staff member; and a staff member who will serve as a full-time “teacher on special assignment” to provide management support to students, staff, parents and the community at Gearhart and Seaside Heights elementary schools, according to the budget message.

The budget includes a 2.25 percent salary increase for district employees.

Although he is retiring June 30, Dougherty will continue to stay on half-time to shepherd the bond measure through the November election.

Another $798,885 is budgeted for repairs to the schools, which have an average age of 65 years. These include:

• New flooring at Gearhart Elementary School

• Roof repairs at Broadway Middle School

• Parking lot renovations at the bus garage

• Internal walls and doors at Seaside Heights

• Resurfacing the Seaside High School track

• Bringing the Seaside High School restroom to the Americans with Disabilities Act code with a shower

• Reroofing a section of the high school gym

Another budget expense includes a $122,000 transfer to supplement losses in the school lunch program. The district is served by the Chartwells food service company, which also worked with the Astoria School District until that district dropped the company last year, complaining about the company’s lack of communication and inconsistencies in the food served to students.

The joint contract the company has with Seaside, Astoria, Warrenton-Hammond and Ocean Park, Washington is due to expire in June.

The district also will pay $788,179 to the state Public Employees Retirement System.

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