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COSA announces support for Measure 97: for smaller class sizes and a more well-rounded education

SALEM – The Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) today announced its support of Ballot Measure 97.  The measure, if successful, will raise corporate taxes to help provide needed funding for schools and other state services.

“Oregon kids deserve better than having one of the shortest school years and some of the largest class sizes in the nation,” said COSA Executive Director Craig Hawkins.  “They deserve a well-rounded education, with challenging and engaging coursework, not only in reading and math and science, but also in music, the arts, engineering, PE, career and technical programs, and more.  They deserve schools with sufficient teachers and counselors and other staff to make sure each and every student receives the individual attention and support needed to be successful.  They deserve to graduate from high school fully prepared for their next step, wherever their path may lead.  Measure 97 will make all of that possible, for the first time in more than a generation.”

COSA’s support of Measure 97 comes after COSA members considered the measure in a number of meetings over the course of the past year.  The organization’s consideration process included a meeting two weeks ago of many of Oregon’s leading school superintendents, who talked with campaign spokespeople for both proponents and opponents, before recommending that the organization support the measure.  It culminated last week in a meeting of the COSA Board of Directors, who voted to endorse Measure 97.

Without Measure 97, and despite a growing economy, the Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) and the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) estimate that Oregon will be facing a revenue shortfall of more than $1.3 billion in the 2017-19 biennium.  One consequence of that shortfall, according to tentative 2017-19 state budget projections released by LFO and DAS earlier this month, will be a K-12 funding level that COSA members expect to result in staff, program and other cuts in most Oregon school districts.  With Measure 97, however, Oregon schools will be able to do what’s needed – hire more teachers, reduce class sizes and provide a well-rounded education that prepares students for successful lives beyond high school, according to Morgan Allen, COSA’s Deputy Executive Director for Advocacy and Policy.

“The future of Oregon kids is what matters most to our members,” Allen said.  “For more than 20 years, there has been a lot of talk about the need to invest more in our schools and our children’s education.  Our kids can’t afford to wait any longer.  It’s time to act.”

About COSA

The Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) serves Oregon students by developing and supporting those who guide our schools.  These leaders are our members – more than 2,200 superintendents, principals and administrators.  COSA was founded in 1974 to help educational leaders collectively shape public policy, advocate for schools and speak on behalf of students.  COSA also serves members with professional development and administrative licensure and degree programs.