Hermiston School District’s budget for the coming school year is more than $22 million less than the 2011-2012 spending plan, but the district plans no reductions in employees or programs.

The total proposed budget is $69,445,578. The reductions stem from a drawdown of what’s left of the bond program construction fund, spending of reserves and a reduction in federal funding, according to Interim Superintendent Wade Smith’s budget message.

“We reduced from the usual 9 percent (reserve fund) threshold to 8 percent and we are using one-time dollars to prevent any reductions,” Smith said.

In the last four years, the district has reduced its workforce by more than 10 percent, while experiencing a 6 percent growth in student body, according to the district budget message.

The school district budget committee approved the 2012-2013 budget and the school board is slated to entertain the motion at the June 11 meeting, Smith said.

He said it is too early to tell if using reserves to stave off program and staff reductions will continue into next year because it depends on state funding.

The general fund is being cut by 2.3 percent, equal to $975,240, due to spending reserve funds and the anticipation of reduced state revenue.

“This year was a pretty typical budget cycle,” Smith said. “We were able to maintain all of our staff and programs this year.”

The bond construction fund is down, due partly to the approximately $3 million purchase of the fairgrounds on April 30 and other projects bringing the balance below $500,000.

The balance will be used to improve the fairgrounds, but not until January 2017 when the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center is expected to be complete and the Umatilla County Fair and Farm-City Pro Rodeo move south of the Hermiston airport to the new facility. The district plans to use the property to expand the high school in lieu of building a new one.

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Contact Anna Willard at awillard@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.

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