Clatsop County education could see substantial losses if Gov. John Kitzhaber vetoes the bills he objects to in the Legislature's budget package.

Potential county losses could be more than $2.3 million if Kitzhaber vetoes the bills and proposed ballot measures fail in the September election.

"If we lose that kind of money, school as we know it really doesn't exist anymore," Warrenton-Hammond School District Superintendent Craig Brewington said. "It will be something entirely different than what we've known in the past."

Although Brewington said he was unsure of the cuts, he said his district could lose $230,000 if Measure 19 fails on the Sept. 19 ballot.

The measure, which Kitzhaber also opposed last week, would transfer $150 million from a school trust fund into a school rainy day fund. It is similar to a measure voters defeated in the May election. It would accompany a 60 cent cigarette tax hike on the ballot.

"It's a big deal to the community college and the county economy," said Clatsop Community College President John Wubben.

The college could have to slash its budget by $868,000 if Kitzhaber vetoes a bill that would shift expenses from 2002-03 into 2003-04 for K-12 and community college education.

CCC requires about $600,000 to cover its payroll for one month, Wubben said. The potential loss would be more than one month's payroll and could threaten 16 staff positions, he said.

Throughout the state, the cuts would slash $56 million from community colleges and mean a 25 percent funding loss, according to the Oregon Community College Association.

"A cut of this magnitude would be absolutely devastating for all community colleges in Oregon," executive director Andrea Henderson said.

The fiscal year normally ends in June, but the Legislature's bill would allow schools to include July receipts in the 2002-03 year. However, the bill would also force the Legislature to find extra funding for next year's budget.

"We'd have to have double payment in July to stay even," Wubben said.

Kitzhaber also proposed vetoing bills that would create cigarette tax-backed bonds, sunset a cigarette tax increase in July 2009, use $18 million from a Common Schools Fund and extend the K-12 and community college fiscal year an extra month, which would shift funding into the 2003-05 biennium.

If Kitzhaber vetoes the bills, the Legislature could be forced into a fourth special session to recoup the losses.

If the governor vetoes the measures and the ballot measures fail, Astoria School District could face a $610,000 shortfall.

"That's better than the 883 from before," said Superintendent Larry McMacken, referring to a projected $883,000 shortfall after the failure of Measure 13 in the May election.

Seaside School District could see a $443,000 loss, Superintendent Doug Dougherty said. Knappa School District would find a budget with $161,000 less, Superintendent Rick Pass said.

Jewell School District's budget is subsidized by timber revenues and would not see a loss.