Five districts can count exchange students living in dorms for another year
Thursday, August 3, 2017
In the closing days of the 2017 session, the Legislature extended the ability of five Oregon school districts to count their foreign exchange students living in dorms as residents.
For the districts, the exchange students are a crucial way of stabilizing district funding and high school populations to create viable learning environments. The foreign students also provide invaluable diversity and learning opportunities for the rural and isolated communities, according to school leaders.
About 40 exchange students a year make up roughly a third of the student body in the five high schools: Burnt River, Mitchell, Paisley, Spray and Ukiah.
In 2010, the Oregon Department of Education decided that exchange students living with families could count toward the state per-student funding formula but exchange students living in dorms would not.
A 2010 law allowed the five districts for two years to count a limited number of dorm exchange students as residents. The law was repeatedly extended for two years, and it was set to sunset July 1, 2017.
The Legislature unanimously extended the law again, but only for one year this time. Rosie Shatkin, legislative policy adviser for Sen. Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay), said the fact that student populations change yearly could require an annual examination of the funding. Roblan was sponsor for the bill, which passed July 7 and sunsets July 1, 2018.