|Ways and Means Co-Chairs recommend $6.245 billion for K-12 schools|
by Executive Director Kent Hunsaker
At 10 a.m. today (March 22), the Ways and Means Co-Chairs, Senator Kurt Schraeder and Representative Mary Nolan, recommended an allocation of $6.245 billion for K-12 Education. It represents an increase of approximately $170/ADMw over the estimate of funding provided to districts by ODE in March. With two-and-a-half months left in the session, this allocation represents an unprecedented increase in the K-12 budget. It is an 18 percent increase over the 2005-07 allocation and brings us very close to the goal we set at the beginning of the session, $6.3 billion. We will continue to advocate for $6.3 billion, but wish to applaud the co-chairs for giving such a strong priority to the funding of education. They understand that providing adequate funding for a strong education program for all students will save money in the long run and at the same time provide a positive stimulus to the economy.
To put this increase in perspective, we only have to go back to the Legislative approved budget for 2005-07 when $5.24 billion was allocated to K-12. This was $94 million BELOW the Revenue Forecast Committee’s Essential Budget Level (EBL) of $5.318 billion. This biennium the EBL is calculated at $5.79 billion. The current recommendation by the co-chairs is $455 million ABOVE EBL.
As most of you know the “education coalition” (COSA, OEA, OSBA, OSEA, Oregon PTA, Stand for Children, OAESD, Oregon Small Schools Association, and AFT Oregon) has developed a joint proposal for funding education. We have all, along with State Superintendent Susan Castillo, been working together to advance this joint proposal to the Legislative Assembly. We wish to thank our partners for their excellent advocacy. Clearly, we are making progress and Oregon’s kids and school districts will be in much better shape as they prepare for the 2007-08 school year.
Even though we have made good progress, we still have a long ways to go as the “hole” that has been dug for education is very deep. Over the last 5 years Oregon’s public schools have coped with accrued funding losses of nearly $1.2 billion. At the proposed level of funding, education funding is still at just over 80% of that recommended by the Quality Education Model. Looking forward, our real opportunity to close the gap on the Quality Education Model level of funding is in the 2009-11 biennium, as the revenue forecasts are much higher because the $1.3 billion being given out in kicker checks in 2007-09 will not be there in 2009-11.
As we move forward in this session, we will need Legislators to hear your positive stories about what this level of funding will do for your schools and what an additional $55 million (to get us to $6.3 billion) will mean to kids!! Thanks for your help.
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|This page was last updated on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 .|