by Kent Hunsaker, Executive Director
COSA and its education partners
(including OEA, OSBA, OSEA, Oregon PTA, Stand for Children, Small Schools
Association, OAESD and others) are joining forces to advocate for school funding
during the 2007 Legislative session. Our
draft funding proposal, including a summary of a companion “Investing in Student
Achievement” Menu, is garnering a lot of interest and support.
To assist this unprecedented
effort, we are asking all Oregon school districts to complete a special survey and return it by December 15.
By providing this information, you will be helping COSA and its partners
make the strongest possible case for school funding during the 2007
session. Details and supporting documents for the survey are available in the Legislative Services section of our website.
Below is a summary of the proposal. It is still in DRAFT form. We see this as a work in progress. If you have
suggestions for making it better, we would like to hear from you (please use the comment form at the end of this blog).
Thanks to the group that worked over the summer to begin
developing this proposal (Jim Keene, Wayne Kostur, Tim LaBrousse, Jim Mabbott,
George Murdock, George Russell, Rob Saxton, Peter Tarzian), the OASE Funding
Coalition for their valuable input and our partners OEA, OSBA, Oregon PTA and
Stand for Children, who have all provided valuable feedback to the document.
2007 Legislature: K-12 Funding Proposal
2007-09 Funding Level for K-12
(COSA and our education partners) support:
appropriation to the 2007-09 State School Fund (SSF) that exceeds the
“essential budget level” (EBL) established by the School Revenue Forecast
Committee, by an amount that represents significant progress toward attainment
of adequate funding as defined by the Quality Education Model.
On average, funding at the EBL means that school
districts receive sufficient funding to maintain current programs. However, for small districts or those
declining in enrollment (a majority of Oregon EBL as
defined by the School Revenue Forecast Committee is currently estimated at
$5.806 billion (or $157 per ADMw above 2006-07); an adjustment is expected
shortly before the start of the 2007 legislative session. Based on the current EBL estimate, Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s
proposed $6.0 billion SSF would provide $142 per ADMw ($194 million) above
EBL. That SSF level would enable
virtually all Oregon
districts to maintain current programs and, in some cases, restore or add
important programs, personnel or services.
A $6.0 billion SSF would provide resources to assist school districts with the
implementation of newly-adopted high school graduation requirements. In response to a changing global economy,
many districts are attempting to increase the rigor of their high school
curricula to better prepare students for success in a competitive world
employment market. In 2005, the
Legislature increased graduation requirements – which mandate expenditures
over-and-above current expenditures in many districts – and now the State Board
of Education is looking to create a more rigorous diploma, all without
additional resources appropriated for districts to be able to implement these
school districts), funding at the EBL generally provides insufficient resources
to maintain current programs.
- An investment of $208 per student ($300
million) in a “School Improvement Fund” – in addition to the proposed $6.0
billion SSF – to support local school districts in their commitment to
improve student achievement. Local school
districts would determine how best to invest “School Improvement Funds” to
maximize impact on student achievement, utilizing the attached “Investing in
Student Achievement” Menu.
A. Investing in the Classroom
- Reduce Class Sizes – Locally determined and targeted to areas of
greatest potential impact on student achievement.
- Add/Restore Specialists – P.E., music, media and other specialists
are needed in many schools that have eliminated them in recent years, to the
detriment of students’ physical health, educational achievement and
well-roundedness. Districts could use
these dollars to hire specialists in areas of greatest impact.
- Institute Full-day Kindergarten– Locally determined,
based on physical (classroom space) and educational considerations
B. Investing in Workforce Quality
- Establish Mentoring/Induction Programs for New Teachers and
- Strengthen Staff Development – Targeted at improving student
achievement results, this best-practices, research-based staff development
would give teachers, administrators, instructional assistants and others the
tools and training they need to help Oregon
students meet high standards.
C. Investing in Literacy Initiatives
- Launch/Enhance Literacy Initiatives – Research-based,
best-practices in reading, writing and mathematics.
D. Investing in Instructional Resources
Instructional Materials and Equipment –
Broadly defined, these materials and equipment would give Oregon’s students and teachers the materials
and equipment they need to succeed.