As sine die nears, education funding committee winds down
Monday, June 10, 2019
Joint Ways and Means Education Subcommittee Co-Chair Sen. Lew Frederick will be helping to shepherd the last of the education spending bills through committee work this week. (Photo by Jake Arnold, OSBA)
The legislative committee that spends money on education will shut down this week.
The Joint Ways and Means Education Subcommittee has two bills remaining that absolutely must be moved before the session’s end: the Oregon Department of Education budget (House Bill 5015) and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission budget (HB 5024).
A few policy bills remain for the committee to consider as well, most notably Senate Bill 155, an OSBA priority. It represents more than a year’s work on the issue of sexual misconduct by school employees toward students.
The bill would create a tiered reporting structure for suspected sexual abuse or conduct by an employee and would broaden the definition of misconduct to include grooming and other inappropriate contact with students. The bill would cost approximately $5 million next biennium as it would require significant expansion of investigations by ODE, the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, and the Oregon Department of Human Services.
A broad stakeholder group — including OSBA, the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators and Oregon Education Association — supports the bill. The bill is likely to move to the full committee this week and then the chamber floors.
Other bills likely to move include the early learning bills HB 2024 and HB 2025 and a significant expansion of the Farm to School nutrition program, HB 2579.
After that, probably no later than Wednesday, the subcommittee will stop meeting. The Legislature's target end of June 21 is fast approaching, and the money, at least for this session, will have been spent.