As it does every two years, a legislative committee on Wednesday adopted a report explaining why the Legislature won’t adequately fund Oregon’s K-12 schools.
Since 2001, state law has required the Legislature to fund Oregon K-12 public education to a standard set by the Quality Education Commission or publish a report saying why funding has fallen short. The State School Fund has never matched the Quality Education Model’s needs. The committee called for $9.97 billion for 2017-19; the Legislature appropriated $8.2 billion.
The Joint Interim Special Committee on Public Education Appropriation voted 5-1 to adopt the “Report on Adequacy of Public Education Funding” for the 2017-19 education budget. The report, as previous ones have stated, said funding was insufficient because of inadequate revenue growth for the state and cost increases for school districts, including additional student needs, employee-related costs, the Public Employees Retirement System and health benefits.
During the 2017 legislative session, OSBA supported a resolution to force the Legislature to fund to the model. House Joint Resolution 4 would have removed the option of writing a report from the law, essentially making the law that the Legislature must fund to the model.
The bill did not make it out of committee, but stable and adequate education funding remains among OSBA’s legislative priorities, as it works toward revenue reform.