Published: January 6, 2005
Oregon’s system of paying for education has undergone challenges in court four times, but the state courts have never ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. Oregon’s current school finance system is based on a foundation formula, which allocates money to districts by multiplying the fiscal 2005 foundation level of $4,500 by a weighted student enrollment. A local minimum levy is not required for districts to receive state aid, but the state assumes districts will raise a certain amount of revenue, and it subtracts that figure from the foundation amount. Oregon’s formula uses weights to provide additional money for special education students, English-language learners, students in poverty, pregnant or parenting students, neglected and delinquent students, and students in foster homes. The state also makes an adjustment for districts with small schools, different grade levels served, and teacher experience. Oregon has three categorical programs that provided $157 million in aid to districts in fiscal 2004. Those programs provide support for student transportation, high-cost special education students, and classroom materials in renovated schools. The Oregon Quality Education Commission, which is a state task force, has developed the Quality Education Model to determine the cost of an adequate education on an ongoing basis. The model uses the “professional judgment” method to calculate the level of funding required for 90 percent of Oregon’s students to meet state standards.
Vol. 24, Issue 17, Page 70