Phoenix-Talent will cut no class time this school year

The Phoenix-Talent School District will cut no school days this school year, Superintendent Ben Bergreen has announced.

The district of nearly 3,000 pupils had considered shaving five days off the school year to offset losses in state funding caused by the recession.

State lawmakers passed the School Day Restoration Fund March 5, earmarking about $51 million in federal stimulus funds to public schools. That money has helped many districts avoid shortening the school year. Oregon already has one of the briefest school years in the nation.

Phoenix-Talent is estimated to receive about $235,000 of the stimulus funds, Bergreen said. It also withdrew $700,000 from its reserve fund, he said. That leaves the district with another $700,000 in contingency funds to carry over to next year, about 3 percent of the district's $23 million budget. Finance experts recommend school districts keep a reserve fund of at least 5 percent, but that has been difficult to abide by in these difficult economic times.

It's unclear whether Phoenix-Talent, like some other districts around the state, will have to lay off employees next school year.

"It would be nice to have a clear number (on school funding) from the Legislature" before any decisions are made for next year, Bergreen said.

— Paris Achen

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