Leadership Symposium Early Bird Deadline Approaching | Join K-12 leaders nationwide for three days of empowering strategies, networking, and inspiration! Discounted pricing ends March 1. Register today.
Education Funding

Oregon Schools Feast After Famine in Funding

By Scott J. Cech — July 17, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

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 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
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
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

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 A Court Ordered Billions for Education. Why Schools Might Not Get It Now
The North Carolina Supreme Court is considering arguments for overturning a statewide order for more school funding.
6 min read
A blue maze with a money bag at the end of the maze.
iStock/Getty
Education Funding Schools Want More Time to Spend COVID-19 Aid for Homeless Students
Senators want to give districts more time to spend COVID relief funds for students experiencing homelessness.
4 min read
New canvas school bags hanging on the backs of empty classroom student chairs in a large modern classroom
iStock/Getty Images
Education Funding ESSER Isn't the Only School Funding Relief That's Disappearing Soon
Federal relief aid, policies to prevent schools from losing enrollment-based funding, and support for vulnerable families are expiring soon.
10 min read
Vector illustration of a businessman's hand holding a slowly vanishing dollar sign.
iStock/Getty
Education Funding Schools Lost Ground on Funding in Recent Years. The Recovery Could Be Slow
School funding took a hit a few years ago. It might be some time before it recovers.
5 min read
Tight crop of a dollar bill puzzle missing one piece
iStock/Getty