Legislative staffer, local accountant added to citizens examining Salem-Keizer budget

Members of the Salem-Keizer school board listen to testimony during a Nov. 13, 2018, meeting. (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

A bilingual chief of staff in the Oregon Legislature and a West Salem accountant will be among the citizens with a voice in how the Salem-Keizer School District spends its annual budget of nearly $700 million.

The Salem-Keizer School Board chose Adriana Miranda and Tyson Pruett to fill two seats on the district budget committee last week. Five people applied.

Miranda also serves on the district’s bond oversight committee and chairs the boundary review committee, which is working on changes to the district map determining which students attend each school.

She is the chief of staff for state Rep. Diego Hernandez, a Portland Democrat, and attended school in the district.

With two children in the district, Miranda wrote in her application that she’s interested in becoming more deeply involved in their education. Serving on the budget committee is “one of the most significant ways to make a difference,” she said.

Pruett is an accountant, one of three partners at Doty Pruett Wilson PC.

He has coached basketball at McKay High School, has children in west Salem schools and previously served on the Salem city budget committee.

With his experience in finance, he said he knows how to make the most of an organization’s available resources.

“I believe education is critical for our future and I want to do what I can to help,” he wrote in his application.

The pair will join five community members on the budget committee – Rachel Dewey-Thorsett, Levi Herrera Lopez, Kathleen Harder, Adam Kohler and Virginia Stapleton. Pruett and Miranda will serve a three-year term.

Cynthia Stinson, Jonathan Chenoweth and Robert Gebhardt Jr. also applied for the open seats.

District officials early next year will propose a budget for the 2019-20 school year early next year, and Superintendent Christy Perry will present it to the school board in the spring.

From there, the budget committee gathers public feedback and then makes its own recommendations on spending for the school year ahead. The board ultimately approves the budget.

Got a tip? Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.