Although Superintendent Mike Johnson described the economic impact as fluid, Gov. Kate Brown is starting to share forecasting messages about the economic picture.

More information will be available after May 20; however, Johnson said the state is expecting a 17% shortfall for this biennium.

The shortfall is mostly due to the loss of income taxes, Johnson said, a result of the pandemic. 

The financial loss will affect this year and the next school year. 

The total results in a loss of $653 million for K-12 in the state, and a $650,000 reduction in Creswell’s school budget. 

Johnson said he’s anticipating a special legislative session in late June on proposals and actions to help resolve the shortfall.

He said he’s concerned that the impact won’t be over when the schools enter a new biennium, and “the district is going to have to look at what that means.”

The district already has several strategies in place to help mitigate these effects, he said.

The first priority is to maintain staffing levels, he said, so district leaders are instituting a hiring freeze and implementing a three-week restriction on spending. 

During this time, they will focus only on projects that had begun before the closure or purchases that are COVID-19 related. 

Another strategy to increase cost savings by as much as $200,000 is by reducing employee work time by 20% through the use of furlough days.

These days would take place on Friday, giving staff members a four-day work week. 

The board approved up to four furlough days through June 12 and will consider additional furlough days for 12-month employees through July 31. 

Johnson said extending the date would be contingent on the reduction application work-share approval, which the district will be hearing back from in around a week.  

“I believe it’s a win-win for the employees as well as the district,” Board Director David Eusted said.