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Ensuring Quality in Tough Times

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Making smart funding decisions in lean years

Like many districts across the country, David Douglas School District is about to be hit by some very large funding issues. Over the past five or six years, Congress has cut education funding by 20% (a rate five times higher than overall federal spending cuts), and the new Congress and Administration has vowed to cut costs further. In addition, the State of Oregon is facing a $1.4 billion budget deficit (most current forecast) and ballooning Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) costs. Add to that the fact that—for the first time in many years—David Douglas School District enrollment is down, and it is clear our classrooms will have to do more with less.

The reality is: there are no simple answers. David Douglas School District will need to ensure responsible, effective, and efficient use of shrinking resources even as the cost of education continues to rise. We will need school board members who are willing to work hard, be creative, and learn from best practices across the country. We will need to collaborate with state lawmakers to rethink the policies, processes, and tools needed for a quality 21st Century education. And we will need involvement from public, private, and nonprofit sector partners to ensure student success.

As the Organizational Development Director of a nonprofit organization, I have spent nearly two decades finding innovative ways to leverage the untapped energy and resources of the community. I have developed new programs with limited funding that have measurable impacts. Most important, I have joined forces with others to address tough issues, facilitating systemic change. I hope you will join me in thinking outside the educational box, so that we can weather these challenging times together.

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