The Joint Committee on Student Success is modeled after a special committee that successfully pushed a $5.3 billion transportation package in 2017. The joint committee plans to hold meetings around the state to talk with community leaders and parents, tour promising programs and listen to public input.
Sen. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, and Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, D-Portland, will co-chair the committee. Smith Warner served on the special transportation committee and said public input shaped the bill.
“It was incredibly useful to go out to all those communities and have them show us projects that worked before and needs that they have there,” Smith Warner said.
Smith Warner said local control is valued in Oregon and school boards are the face of local control for Oregon.
“School boards will play a critical role in helping us to do this work,” she said. “School boards are the lifeblood. They are the most important intermediaries between the state’s role and the parents’, teachers’ and students’ role.”
The committee will meet monthly through January 2019 and hold hearings around the state in spring and summer 2018, preparing a plan for the 2019 session.
“We look forward to working with the committee and hearing testimony from school board members statewide on the vital issue of how we can sustainably pay for our K-12 public schools,” said Jim Green, OSBA executive director. “It’s time that our elected leaders have serious discussions about revenue reform to fund schools and cost containment to ensure the dollars schools receive go to the classroom to benefit students. Our students deserve better and they deserve immediate action by our policymakers.”
The committee’s work will be based on five foundational principles:
Early childhood education is important to school success.
Attendance and having sufficient learning time are crucial.
Oregon must improve high school graduation rates.
The school system needs to be accountable and transparent.
Schools need stable and sufficient resources.
Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, and Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, are the committee’s co-vice chairs. The committee will have seven senators and seven representatives, with eight of them Democrats and six of them Republicans.
“It’s time we come out of our corners and solve this problem together,” House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, said in the news release announcing the committee Thursday.