Schools Update: More About Superintendent Retirement

I recently noticed on Facebook that my retirement has raised some questions in the community so I thought I would clarify what’s happening and some background.

In the last couple of years, as we neared the completion of the school, I have chosen to be optimistic about the new school and the number of students that would come to Vernonia as a result. Unfortunately, the numbers haven’t materialized yet and as our enrollment numbers have dropped so has our operating funding from the state, resulting in the need to make some rather drastic changes.

Our district, with only about 550 students enrolled, can no longer support a full-time superintendent. Because of this, and in order to help balance the budget, I have chosen to retire and only work half time. This will not only save the district half of my salary but the district will not have to pay anything to PERS on my salary as well. 

Our district is not alone in finding that the funding from Salem does not meet the needs of K-12 education in the state. There are a number of districts who are making staffing reductions and cutting days to help balance their budgets. We have had to make cuts for the past few years and as we approached the budget this year there wasn’t much left to cut.

The District Budget Committee, in their May 23rd meeting, approved a budget which reduces days to balance the budget without any teacher reductions (other than a resignation and a retirement). There will be a public hearing on the 2013-14 Budget as part of our regular board meeting on Thursday, June 13th , which will be held on the stage in the new schools. Everyone is invited to attend. There will also be a demonstration by the Vernonia Loggerbots, our robotics club, prior to the meeting at 5:45 PM.