Education Funding

Oregon Schools Feast After Famine in Funding

By Scott J. Cech — July 17, 2007 1 min read

The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2006 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.

Oregon

Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski
Democrat
Senate:
18 Democrats
31 Republicans
1 Independent
House:
11 Democrats
29 Republicans
Enrollment:
562,828

Lawmakers in Oregon used their recently concluded legislative session to give K-12 public schools a major funding boost, approving a record $6.245 billion for the next fiscal biennium—an 18 percent increase over 2005-07 levels. The state’s overall budget is $15.1 billion for fiscal 2007-2009.

“It was a great bump for us—the most funding we’ve had in a decade,” said Susanne Smith, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Education.

The cornucopia includes $39 million in new aid for Head Start, increasing by 20 percentage points the number of financially eligible children who can take advantage of its programs. The legislature also allotted $260 million in new money for the School Improvement Fund, which allows school districts to select from a menu of state-approved priorities, including decreased class sizes, implementation of all-day kindergarten, and enhanced professional development.

In addition, the lawmakers approved $5 million for teacher mentoring, appropriating $5,000 per teacher. Schools will also be able to draw from a $300 million state “rainy day” fund during a future recession.

And in a move state education officials view as significant, the legislature cleared the way for a 2008 ballot measure that would, in effect, repeal a major crimp in capital improvements: the state constitution’s so-called “double majority” requirement. Previously, proposals to raise property taxes for school construction bonds and other purposes required not only a majority of ballot votes, but also the voting participation of more than 50 percent of voters.

That legislative action is especially important, said Patrick Burk, the Oregon Department of Education’s chief policy officer, given that estimates of building maintenance deferred because of budget pressure during the last half-dozen years range from $10 billion to $15 billion.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Oregon. See data on Oregon’s public school system.

A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2007 edition of Education Week

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Safe Return to Schools is Possible with Testing
We are edging closer to a nationwide return to in-person learning in the fall. However, vaccinations alone will not get us through this. Young children not being able to vaccinate, the spread of new and
Content provided by BD
Equity & Diversity Live Online Discussion What Is Critical Race Theory and Why You Shouldn't Shy Away From It
In this episode of A Seat at the Table, Peter DeWitt sits down with lawyer-educator Janel George and EdWeek reporters, Stephen Sawchuk and Andrew Ujifusa, as they discuss what’s at the heart of the critical

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding To Get Billions in COVID-19 Aid, States Pledge Focus on Mental Health, Learning Recovery
Twenty-eight states had submitted plans to the Education Department as of mid-June to access $41 billion from the American Rescue Plan.
4 min read
Illustration of money floating in a life preserver.
ISerg/iStock/Getty
Education Funding Some in Congress Fear State Budget Decisions May Undercut COVID-19 Education Relief
A dispute in Wisconsin over coronavirus relief underscores how technical issues and politics are affecting education spending decisions.
4 min read
Image shows an illustration of money providing relief against coronavirus.
DigitalVision Vectors/iStock/Getty
Education Funding There Are Big Funding Gaps Affecting High-Poverty Schools. Can Biden Close Them?
Hurdles lie ahead for a $20 billion bid to create "Title I equity grants" to address long-standing funding inequities.
9 min read
President Joe Biden talks about the May jobs report from the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Friday, June 4, 2021.
President Joe Biden made boosting Title I for disadvantaged students a key part of his education platform on the campaign trail.
Susan Walsh/AP
Education Funding Education Department Issues Directive on Shielding Students in Poverty From Funding Cuts
The agency released the "maintenance of equity" guidance on COVID-19 relief as part of a public-relations blitz on equity amid the pandemic.
5 min read
Image of a $100 dollar bill that is cut into blocks for distribution.
E+/Getty