The Future of Oregon-Davis Schools Uncertain

Oregon-Davis Jr./Sr. High School

What’s ahead for Oregon-Davis schools? Superintendent Dr. Steve Disney appeared before the Starke County Council Monday night to discuss the school’s General Fund Referendum that will appear on the primary ballot in May. Because of a decrease of almost $400,000 in funding announced by the State Board of Education in October, Oregon-Davis has been left scrambling for revenue.

“We’re taking a ten percent hit and we made all of the cuts last year to have a balanced book,” explained Dr. Disney. “In January, our revenue was cut by another ten percent than what we were receiving in December. We were told last spring that we weren’t going to get any more money, but we weren’t expecting a ten percent hit.”

To get through the next six months of funding, the school board has had to dip into the Rainy Day Fund.

“We built our Rainy Day Fund to try to be ready, and we can withstand the next six months. We’re going to be spending about $150,000 out of Rainy Day to get us through the rest of the school year.”

He said that without this tax increase, the school would not survive. Dr. Disney explains where the cuts would have to be made if the referendum fails.

“$240,000 in teaching staff, $105,000 in extra-curricular, $37,000 in custodial positions, and $45,000 in the alternative school. We’ve tried to do everything we can to get the tax rate down for 2012. 2011 we’re at $.92 and in 2010 we were at $.99. In 2012, we’re going to be down to $.84 so this $.19 would actually put our tax rate at $1.03.”

County officials are concerned with the referendum that would increase the property tax $.19 on each $100 of assessed valuation. The tax increase could have a direct adverse impact on the county. County officials have asked Dr. Disney if he would be able to set up a meeting between the Council, the School Board, and Umbaugh and Associates to discuss that impact.