Beaverton, Oregon School Levy: Hitting Up Strapped Taxpayers Isn't A Smart Strategy

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Beaverton School District's request for more money with Measure 34-193 presents voters with an interesting choice: Do we continue to support K-12 education with funds currently available and learn to live within our means? Or, do we approve an expensive levy?

The school board is asking voters to fund a local-option levy that would cost a property owner of a house assessed at $200,000 about $200 per year. This would bring in an estimated $14 million per year in revenues. That's a significant increase at a time when we taxpayers are maxed out.

The adopted operating budget for year 2011-2012 is $326,233,842. This is a whopping increase of 5.3 percent ($16.5 million) from the previous year. With taxpayers in a financial bind, why would our school board increase spending at all?

The budget shows a reduction in salaries from the previous year but makes up for this with increasing PERS and benefits. This nets an increase in associated payroll costs of $14.3 million or 5.4 percent. Meanwhile, the average worker has been struggling to make ends meet since the start of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

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