School board experience prompts transit money bill
Friday, March 24, 2017
Rep. Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay) said the impetus for House Bill 2693 came from her time as a school board member.
The House Education Committee took testimony Wednesday on HB 2693-A, which would allow for additional transportation reimbursements. McKeown described having to consider a number of questions during tight budget times.
“What is the appropriate use of transit for students, particularly in relation to instructional time?” McKeown asked, and how did that relate to the desire to “give school districts some latitude” in student transportation.
HB 2693-A attempts to answer those questions. Currently, districts are reimbursed for transportation costs at 70 percent to 90 percent, depending mainly on the geography of the district. The bill would create a $5 million fund that would be used to reimburse, at a 50 percent rate, districts that purchase transit passes for high school students.
“This program, I’m not going to call it a pilot because I think it will stand the test of time,” McKeown said, “but I’d like to set some money aside for school districts to begin to use immediately and see how it works out.”
No further hearings have been scheduled for the bill; OSBA will continue to monitor it. If the bill moves out of the education committee, it will go to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means for discussion of funding.