OREGON:  The first in state history, a $9 billion budget

OREGON: The first in state history, a $9 billion budget

The Oregon House of Representatives Monday approved a $9 billion budget for K-12 school and advanced the nearly $1 billion appropriation bill for the Student Success Act. Combined, this legislation will help transform Oregon’s public schools into a model system that will give every student the opportunity to succeed. The State School Fund budget, House Bill 5016, is 9.7 percent higher than the current biennium and maintains funding at continuing service levels for the upcoming biennium. It is the largest school budget in Oregon history. “This session, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make transformational change in our public education system,” said Rep. Susan McLain (D-Forest Grove) who carried the budget on the floor. “This is the first step forward in a better future for Oregon’s kids. A strong budget for our public schools ensures that other investments we make can have the needed impact across the state.” The budget includes $7.71 billion in General Fund, $535.7 million in Lottery Fund and $103.3 million in marijuana taxes, among other sources. The full State School Fund combines with $4.3 billion from property taxes to be distributed through the school revenue formula. The State School Fund combined with the Student Success Act will make large investments in school nutrition programs that will ensure that every Oregon student has access to meals. “In my years as a teacher in multiple districts and communities, I saw countless examples of the need for this funding,” said Rep. Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville). “Children who are struggling with food insecurity and poor nutrition need our support. Hungry children enter the classroom at a disadvantage. But by ensuring they have access to nutrition, we are also ensuring they are ready to learn.” Additionally, the House approved House Bill 5047, the 2019-2021appropriationbill for the Student Success Act, which passed the Oregon House two weeks ago. That legislation, when fully implemented will provide $1 billion per year in additional funding for early learning and K-12 schools.
In the upcoming biennium, as the program gets implemented, it will provide an early $1 billion in additional school funding. The Student Success Act will specifically allocate:•$472 million in funding for the Student Investment Account, a non-competitive grant for school districts to address student health and safety, broaden curriculum options and reduce class sizes;•$170 million in funding for the Early Learning Account to invest in new and expanded early learning programs including pre-kindergarten, Head Start and early child special education; •And $265 million for the Statewide Education Initiative Account, which fully funds career and technical education approved by voters in Measure 98,statewide equity initiatives, and additional programs to keep students engaged and successful. “The Student Success Act is a light at the end of the tunnel for our education system,” said Rep. Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland), the co-chair of the Joint Committee on Student Success. “These long overdue investments fulfill our long-standing commitment to stable, dedicated funding for our schools, and making the kind of investments our kids need to succeed and achieve their full potential.” Both bills now go to the Oregon Senate for consideration.