Vale high School

This photo shows Vale High School.

VALE — With budget concerns following the pandemic caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Vale School District is staring at a major budget shortfall in the 2020-2021 school year. This includes a potential reduction in force, just weeks before the school year is scheduled to start.

On Friday afternoon, Vale School District Superintendent Alisha McBride said that several Vale School District employees have been notified that “if the District does not receive adequate funding from the state, they may be subject to a reduction in force.” McBride said the district must notify employees with at least a 20 day notice (which is part of the district’s collective bargaining agreement with the teacher’s union).

“Globally, we are facing unprecedented times and situations. Unfortunately, many sectors have been significantly impacted financially by COVID-19, and education is not immune to these financial challenges,” McBride said.

On Friday afternoon Vale Teacher’s Union President Andy Hally said the union is working on negotiations with the district.

“There hasn’t been anyone laid off right now,” Hally said. “We are working on what our best scenarios are. We’ll continue to work with them to get through this.”

As of Friday afternoon, there are no future negotiation meetings scheduled.

McBride said schools around the state are “anxiously awaiting” the legislative special session which would help address the state budget. But because school is right around the corner, she said school revenues are uncertain.

“The District will update employees as we have more information on the state budget and how it may impact our staff,” McBride said. “It is truly unfortunate that we are in this challenging position. The Vale School District is doing everything possible to maintain current staffing and provide the best educational opportunities for students. However, as a public entity, it is equally important that we are prudent stewards of the taxpayer’s money. These have been some of the most difficult conversations I have ever had in my role as Superintendent, and the District is exploring multiple options to address this challenge.”

Nik Streng is the sports reporter for the Argus Observer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a master's degree in journalism, after graduating from Pacific University in 2013 with a degree in creative writing.

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