Education committee hears bill to radically change Measure 98
Friday, April 14, 2017
Senate Bill 353 would dramatically change the implementation of the High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Act, which was created by Measure 98.
The Senate Education Committee held a public hearing Thursday on SB 353, which was drafted by Sen. Lew Frederick (D-Portland) at the request of the Oregon Education Association.
Amendments to the bill would change the way Measure 98 came into effect, including removing the $800 per student funding requirement; removing the requirement to increase the amount made available each school year; removing provisions encouraging districts to prioritize programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and removing requirements for school districts to conduct annual analyses of student attendance and disciplinary referrals.
The hearing generated strong testimony on both sides of the issue. Betsy Salter, Portland resident and parent of a Portland Public Schools student, said she had been concerned with Measure 98 since before it was ratified.
The “funding to implement Measure 98’s three specific high school programs would exacerbate budget cuts to Oregon’s chronically underfunded K12 public schools,” Salter said. “I believe Measure 98 should not be funded until after the state has raised sufficient revenue to maintain current levels of services.”
Katie Partlow, an agriculture teacher and FFA adviser, testified in opposition to the bill.
“People are now seeing the value in CTE classes,” Partlow said. “To have a prepared workforce it is essential to give these opportunities to every student in the state of Oregon. This not only benefits our students but also our local businesses, our communities and our state. This is common sense, and this is what Oregon wants. Our students deserve better. CTE works. Period.”
OSBA continues to work to support implementation of Measure 98 and will monitor the bill. SB 353 is scheduled for a work session Tuesday, and it is unclear whether there will be further amendments to the bill.