We did it (but there is more to do) is message at OSBA Fall Regional Meetings
Thursday, October 3, 2019
OSBA Executive Director Jim Green and Legislative Services Director Lori Sattenspiel explained some of the ramifications of 2019 legislation to a full room Wednesday night at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Airport hotel. (Photo by Alex Pulaski, OSBA)
OSBA leaders offered a mixture of celebration and explanation of the game-changing Student Success Act as the Fall Regional Meetings kicked off with events Wednesday night in Portland and McMinnville.
In Portland, OSBA Executive Director Jim Green credited school board members’ legislative advocacy for helping to achieve long-sought revenue reform and the act’s “historic investment” in public schools.
The Student Success Act will inject roughly $1 billion a year into Oregon preK-12 public education, but it comes with requirements for equity, engagement, transparency and accountability.
Green said school board members’ voices also helped increase the State School Fund to $9 billion.
Representatives from more than a half-dozen Portland-area school districts attended the meeting hosted by the Multnomah Education Service District. The Willamette ESD hosted the McMinnville meeting.
The Student Success Act was the evening’s unifying thread. A new video explained work by OSBA staff and members to assure its passage, and much of the presentation focused on the historic opportunity to fund student programs and the responsibilities that go along with that.
In Portland, Legislative Services Director Lori Sattenspiel discussed the business tax that will pay for the act and showed how it will be divided up. At least 50% of it will go to districts based on enrollment.
There were also questions about school board members becoming mandatory reporters of child abuse. Green said OSBA would be offering trainings, although training isn’t required in the law.
This month’s regional meetings will also include a bit of board training.
Board Development Director Steve Kelley said before the meetings that this was the first time his team was making a concerted effort to have staff at every regional gathering.
“It came out of a desire to connect with as many members as we can,” he said.
Board Development Specialist Kristen Miles told attendees Wednesday in Portland that OSBA has been researching how school boards affect student success. Board members have a role to play in implementing the Student Success Act, she said, but to be effective they need to understand their responsibilities and how those interact with other district leaders’ work.
The Fall Regional Meetings will continue around the state through Oct. 30. The meetings are a chance to learn about new laws, network with school board members in nearby districts and meet candidates for the OSBA Board of Directors and Legislative Policy Committee.