We extend our thanks to our entire David Douglas community for the thoughtful input you gave us regarding our Student Success Act (SSA) investments. We have developed a plan based on your input, which was reviewed and approved by our School Board on Thursday, Feb. 27. We could not have gotten to this point without our families, our staff, our students and our community partners letting us know what educational investments matter most. So, again, thank you.
We have developed a plan that uses a staffing formula, which will allow us to preserve small class sizes, especially at the elementary level. We heard loud and clear during our community meetings and through our community survey that class size is a top priority.
Overall District enrollment has been declining for several years. Our School District has about 1,100 fewer students than it did 5 years ago, which means the amount of general fund money sent to us by the State of Oregon has also been declining. Because of this, we are projecting that the 2020-21 budget will have a deficit of about $8.3 million. In any other year, this would require drastic budget cuts. However, our Student Success Act plan will allow us to use our expected $8 million in SSA funds to invest in preventing cuts from hitting the classrooms.
We are very fortunate that David Douglas has consistently invested through the years in student-centered programs providing a safe and well-rounded education. There are many school districts in Oregon that are using their SSA funds to invest in school counselors or PE teachers or instructional assistants. But David Douglas already has these assets, and our SSA funds will allow us to keep them.
Any SSA funds remaining after protecting our class sizes and current service levels will be invested in health and safety, which was also a top priority expressed by our community.
Our SSA funds could come in higher than anticipated. Or, our general fund could end the year healthier than we anticipated. Or both could happen. Regardless, additional funds would be invested in priority areas such as Restorative Practices Specialists, School Nurses and Health Assistants, School Psychologists, Additional Classroom/Building IA Support, and IAs in Special Education support.
We welcome your thoughts and feedback on our plan. The School Board next meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12, when you are welcome to give public input. In addition, this plan and our proposed 2020-21 general fund budget will go before the Budget Committee on Monday, April 27, when you are also welcome to testify.
Thank you again for your help in this process and for everything you do to assist our schools in helping your students to learn, grow and thrive.