The Umatilla-Morrow Education Service District board passed its 2009-10 budget Tuesday night, laying out a fiscal year that's partly buoyed by federal stimulus money.

Beth O'Hanlon, the ESD's chief financial officer, said the ESD's annual budget is less dependent on state funding than individual school districts - state money accounts for about 26 percent of its general fund, and close to 42 percent of its overall budget. The rest comes from sources such as other contracts and some federal money, among others.

About $2.7 million in stimulus money is a big reason why the ESD's overall budget will increase slightly next year - about $37.7 million, up from just over $36 million in 2008-09 - but O'Hanlon said those funds will go directly to school districts.

The districts served by the Umatilla-Morrow ESD won't see a change in the help they receive, she said.

"We'll maintain services that we provide directly to our local school districts,"?O'Hanlon said. "It's really important, especially for our smaller schools.

Districts across Eastern Oregon grappled with major budget cuts this year as the state's economy continued to deteriorate. Schools experienced everything from laying off staff and freezing pay to trimming days from the school year.

The Umatilla-Morrow ESD wasn't immune from those impacts, either, O'Hanlon said. The ESD will see a drop in its general fund next year, and did trim some administrative staff, she said.

The next fiscal year starts Wednesday.

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