The Hermiston School District received about $200,000 worth of good news last month.

Every year, districts across the state estimate certain revenues and expenditures that affect the amount of money received from the state, such as transportation costs and local taxes. In the spring, the Oregon Department of Education audits each district in the state and takes the dollar figure each district received based on those estimates and corrects it to actual levels.

“The reimbursement is based on the statewide pool of resources available after ODE audits each district’s student numbers, as well as other factors,” interim Superintendent Wade Smith said Wednesday. “Some districts receive additional monies, like Hermiston, and some districts unfortunately have to pay back money because they may have received too much in the previous year.”

For the 2009-10 school year, district officials predicted Hermiston would receive about $400,000 in reimbursement, but actual figures will be closer to $600,000, giving the district an extra $200,000 to leverage against budget cuts.

The district will receive the reimbursement funding in May, and for now, the extra $200,000 will go into the current year revenue to be part of the balance forward at the end of the year. The funding could be used to supplant the revenue shortfall expected from the state, Smith said, but if other money-saving measures taken and additional funding keeps the district level, that money could be used to reinstate programs and employees cut during the budget process.

“If that revenue comes in, the (school) board will likely have discussions about using those additional dollars to bring down class sizes, bring back some teachers and some programs that have been reduced in previous years,” Smith said. “The board does have the ability to authorize spending these dollars next year to support the current staff and, if the ability presents itself, to bring some (services) back.”

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