Members’ message to OSBA: Revenue reform remains the top priority
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Polling during OSBA’s Fall Regional meetings this year showed strong support for revenue reform to increase Oregon education funding.
OSBA executives and legislative staff met with approximately 600 board members, superintendents and staff members during the 21 fall meetings all over Oregon. The meetings, which wrapped up Oct. 23, provide a chance for OSBA to update members on its work and gather input for the coming year.
OSBA Executive Director Jim Green said Fall Regionals always offer valuable opportunities to talk with members, but this year it was especially important to have members engaged on revenue reform efforts.
“Our members have been emphatic that revenue reform and cost containment are their top priorities,” Green said. “We will do whatever we can to advocate for the investments in education that our children deserve.”
This year’s meetings included asking superintendents, school board members and other attendees to take an 11-question anonymous poll similar to one OSBA will conduct in coming months with registered voters. The poll included questions on state revenue reform, the Quality Education Model and district spending decisions.
According to OSBA’s 2018 Fall Regional Summary, 89 percent of respondents agree revenue reform is the right priority for OSBA and 70 percent agree fully funding the Quality Education Model is the right target. The model is a nonpartisan report by the Quality Education Commission that details what a high-quality Oregon education should look like. The commission estimated its model Oregon education system would cost $10.7 billion for 2019-21, a $2.5 billion increase from this biennium’s State School Fund.
The poll also showed that a majority of OSBA’s members think a combination of increased revenue, decreased spending and cost containment would be the best way to improve K-12 public education funding. Respondents across all regions preferred a corporate tax increase or a sales tax to raise revenue. On cost containment, respondents were nearly evenly split between targeting costs of retirement or health care.
On most questions, the responses tended to be similar across regions, but some of the largest variations were in response to districts’ spending priorities for additional money. Education advocates have been telling the Legislature, including the touring Joint Interim Committee on Student Success, that districts need flexibility with additional funding to address local issues.