WARRENTON-The Warrenton-Hammond School District will cut seven days from the remaining months of the school year.

Like many districts throughout the state, Warrenton School Board voted unanimously Feb. 28 to cut the days to save money. But the district will not meet state requirements for hours in class this year, board member Jim Gannaway said.

"We are not going to be standard in that area this year," he said. "There are dozens of school districts in that position this year."

The District will be 20 hours short. Districts must notify the state if they do not comply with school days, and the state provides time for school districts to develop plans for compliance, said State Board of Education staff member Randy Harnisch this morning.

Harnisch has received notice from about eight districts which may not comply with school days. He said most of the notices were for districts that had taken action before the end of the year. He has asked for updates.

"I'm expecting that number to increase beyond eight," he said.

If districts do not notify the state, and do not develop plans for compliance or do not carry out the plans, the state may withhold funding, he said. But usually the process takes more than 12 months and most districts inform the state.

"We're going to track people down if there's an issue," Harnisch said. "We want to work with districts."

The failed income tax increase, Measure 28, forced the district to grapple with $140,000 budget shortfall.

"There'd been discussion amongst staff and the principals in terms of how to best accommodate the shortfall," Gannaway said.

The district also closed a school that served the recently closed North Coast Youth Correctional Facility. Nine teachers were laid off from the South Jetty High School and elsewhere in the district when teachers with less seniority were "bumped" after a Feb. 13 board meeting.

"It's just been one disaster after another," Gannaway said.

The board didn't make other cuts than school days Friday. "We pretty much used up those earlier in the year," he said.

Other Oregon school districts are in the same position, but many cut earlier in the year.

"We just did not want to get into anticipating how the voters may vote," Gannaway said. "It's a moving target."

In the four years he's been on the board, Gannaway said cutting school days had never been discussed before this year.

There will be no school on March 20 or 21, which starts Spring Break two days earlier than planned, Superintendent Craig Brewington said in a press release.

There will be no school on Good Friday, April 18, or the Monday after Easter, April 21. The last day for students will be June 5, which slices three days from the end of the 2002/2003 calendar.


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