OSBA opposes class-size bill, which could cost over $500 million
Monday, January 22, 2018
A new bill made public Jan. 22 on behalf of Oregon's teachers union seeks to make class size a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. The Oregon School Boards Association is taking a strong stand in opposition for the same reasons it did in 2017, when a similar bill failed to pass.
Jim Green, OSBA's executive director, said House Bill 4113 would undermine local control and create an unfunded mandate that could lead to school boards having to cut services and school days to meet class-size restrictions. He said such attempts at restricting class size had proved to be failures in California and Florida.
"If you make class size a subject of collective bargaining, it will be a budget buster for school districts," said Green.
Based on estimates from the Oregon Department of Education, lowering class sizes by three students would cost an additional $575.6 million in the 2019-21 biennium. That translates to hiring roughly 2,600 new teachers, according to ODE estimates, at a time when the Legislature is struggling to even maintain current service levels.
Green suggested that legislators instead focus their attention on the broader picture of paying for a first-class Oregon school system, as they have signaled their intention to do through the Joint Committee on Student Success.