The possibility of a dark financial future for the 2009-11 biennium loomed Tuesday for the Hermiston School Board.

"The state Legislature had budgeted $6 billion or $5.7 billion with the hope of $733,000 in tax collections," Hermiston Superintendent Dr. Fred Maiocco said. "We're anticipating tax collections are going to be down."

Coinciding with the possibility of a low tax collection are rumblings about a referendum challenging the income and corporate tax hikes enacted by the Legislature. If enough signatures are gathered, the challenge to the taxes could be added to the January ballot.

"If it passes it means the state will have a $5.3 billion budget, leaving us in a pinch," Maiocco said.

The Hermiston?School District based its budget on the state's $5.7 billion projection.

School Board Director David Drotzmann asked Maiocco to clarify the district's situation if the state budget did fall to $5.3 billion.

"We would have to make significant and immediate cuts this year," Maiocco said.

"So, with the cuts we weathered already, we would have to endure more?" Drotzmann asked.

"Yes, and it could be a double whammy if the federal stimulus money is taken away," Maiocco said.

Drotzmann, who has children in the school district, said if the referendum does go onto the ballot he'll have to base his vote on how it would affect the district - not as a board member, but as a parent.

The board also received the final numbers of its AYP No Child Left Behind scores, which showed that aside from writing scores, the district is in line with its goals.

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