A day after the state’s forecast was released, the Umatilla School Board of Directors and superintendent Heidi Sipe discussed its impact on the district.

“The entire state revenue forecast is down another $100 million,” Sipe told the board. “Unless the February forecast is even worse, we should not see a mid-year decrease, but for next year’s we’re expecting another $25 million hit to K-12. For us, that means another loss of approximately $62,000.”

In Umatilla, that decrease could mean more money taken from the district’s ending fund balance, the amount kept in district finance accounts and used to pay expenses during the months when the district does not receive state funding. The district developed a systematic plan to reduce the that fund each year instead of cutting staff or programs, and Sipe said the fund is now down to a minimal amount.

“No one expected the downturn to last this long,” Sipe said. “Initially we expected it to last two years. Now we’re looking at year four.”

State funding shortfalls have damaged school districts, which must find funding for equipment and utility roll-up costs as well as retirement accounts and staff pay increases.

The Umatilla district also faces challenges with the closing of the Umatilla Chemical Depot, expected to affect about 50 of the district’s students. Sipe also said district enrollment is up about 50 students this year.

“Right now, everything for us depends on our ending fund balance,” she said.

In other business:

• The district recognized McNary Heights Elementary principal Bob Lorence and assistant principal Doug Gall for spending two hours locating a teacher when she did not arrive for work and did not contact any one. The teacher, who has a medical condition, had been passed out and been admitted to a local hospital.

• School board members discussed the upcoming staff survey as well as student violence prevention programs.

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