Schools facing budget shortfall; Public land cross targeted; State Representative to hold Florence Town Hall

Coast Radio News
Local News

3 April 2013

School District Dealing With Projected Shortfall

Four years ago voters in the Siuslaw School District approved a temporary increase in property taxes to help fund daily operations, it was anticipated that the five-year levy would generate just over $5-million.  But, says school district Business Manager Kari Blake, that won’t ultimately be the case.

Kari Blake – “We have this lovely thing in Oregon called compression.  This is our fourth year of our levy and to date we have lost $557-thousand to compression and I anticipate another revenue shortfall of $250-thousand.”

The maximum tax rate for all educational entities combined cannot exceed $5-per thousand of assessed valuation.  When you total up the tax rates for Siuslaw Schools, Lane Community College and the Lane Educational Service District the five dollar mark is exceeded.  When that happens… the first thing to get cut is the local option tax levy.  Losses due to compression have wiped out the reserves putting the district in a difficult situation this year.

Kari Blake – “And there’s a couple of other things.  We are going to get no federal forest dollars next year and this year we received a hundred thousand dollars.  So we are looking at about a $700-thousand shortfall for next year, that is with the levy in place.”

Three members of the Siuslaw School District Board of Directors will be on KCST’s Our Town this afternoon to talk about school funding and a May ballot request to extend that levy.

Large crowd turns out in Coos Bay to talk about cross

The Coos Bay Public Library was packed to overflowing last night and dozens of people stood outside waving flags and peering through the windows as the Coos Bay City Council heard from residents about the possibility of removing a memorial to Viet Nam War veterans.  It’s topped with a cross and has stood in the city’s Mingus Park since 1972.

A Wisconsin group, the Freedom of Religion Foundation,  acting on behalf of several coastal residents, has threatened a lawsuit against Coos Bay unless the cross is removed from public land.  The Coos Bay council heard from both sides then went into an executive session to discuss the possible litigation.  When they emerged they announced they would seek additional legal assistance to explore their options in the matter.

State Rep. to hold Florence Town Hall

She’s only been in office for about two months, but State Representative Caddy McKeown says she’s figuring things out.

Caddy McKeown – “I don’t think there are many surprises.  You know, not having being here before I keep hearing from my colleagues that this session has certainly gotten off to a faster start than in the past.  A lot of bills are coming fast and furious.  So you know, not having a reference point makes it rather difficult for me, but we are certainly plenty busy, I will say that.”

The Coos County Democrat will be in the district for a series of town hall meetings this weekend.  McKeown will be at Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue from noon to one Saturday.  Then from one to two she’ll hold an “open coffee hour” at Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters on Bay Street.  Later that day she’ll be at the Coos Bay Fire Station along with 5th District State Senator Arnie Roblan from four to five pm.