OSBA 2015 Legislative Policies and Priorities

OSBA’s Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) met and formulated a set of draft policies and priorities to guide the association’s efforts during the 2015 legislative session.

The priorities and policies below were approved by the OSBA Board of Directors in September 2014 and by the OSBA membership in December 2014.

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Adopted Priorities

The Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) believes funding a strong system of public education is the best investment Oregonians can make to strengthen our economy, create thriving communities and improve the quality of life for every Oregonian.

In order to accomplish these goals, OSBA will introduce and support legislation which: 

Supports Student Achievement 
OSBA will actively promote legislation that leads to increased academic achievement for all students in the P-20 education enterprise. OSBA will work to ensure local school boards and communities control the implementation of programs and curriculum so every student is college or career ready upon completion of their academic program. OSBA will support efforts to increase high school completion, lower the number of drop-outs, close academic achievement gaps and provide additional services to all students who need extra supports.
Provides Stable and Adequate Funding 

OSBA will actively support legislation to increase state and federal funding for the public school system to ensure adequate and stable funding for each school district and education service district (ESD) so that they may provide a quality public education for every student.

OSBA believes a balanced approach is necessary to increase education funding and to provide stable and adequate funding of Oregon’s public school system. OSBA will actively promote legislation that strives for this balance by advocating for the restructure of Oregon’s revenue system, promoting job creation and increasing opportunities for economic development across Oregon. 

Empowers Locally Elected School Boards and Provides for Shared Accountability 

OSBA will actively support legislation that gives locally elected boards the ability to make decisions in the best interests of their students and communities. OSBA will highlight the need for shared accountability to improve student achievement between state and federal policy makers, the business community, locally elected board members and the voters of Oregon. 

Opposes Mandates 

OSBA will actively oppose any federal- or state-imposed mandate that does not lead to increased academic achievement for students and is not accompanied with the necessary full funding to implement the mandate.   

Promotes Capital Construction/Capital Improvements 

OSBA will actively promote legislation that provides additional state level resources to school districts to help pay for capital construction/capital improvement needs, as well as deferred maintenance costs for all school facilities.  

Contains Educational System Cost-Drivers 
OSBA will actively promote legislation that provides relief for school districts from cost drivers that are beyond the control of the local school district or school board.  These cost drivers include, but are not limited to, the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), health insurance and any state or federally mandated program or service.   

Adopted Policies

Section 1: Finance

1.1 Investing in Oregon’s Public Schools to Ensure Adequate and Stable Funding

OSBA supports increasing state resources to K-12 school districts so Oregon’s schools are competitive nationally and globally and each school district and education service district (ESD) has the funds necessary to support operational, instructional and student achievement goals.

OSBA supports the role of locally elected school boards to set spending priorities and opposes using the State School Fund distribution formula to mandate specific expenditures. OSBA supports school funding equalization. OSBA supports continued funding of local option equalization grants; local option property tax revenue should not be included in the State School Fund. 

OSBA supports increased funding for all levels of the P-20 education enterprise to support increased achievement for every child and student. OSBA supports the Quality Education Commission's (QEC) effort to promote best practices to improve student outcomes and encourages the Commission to work with the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) to identify funding necessary to achieve the 40-40-20 goal by 2025.

1.2 Reforming Tax Policy

OSBA supports efforts to provide the revenue necessary to attain the educational goals of Oregon’s P-20 system and restructure tax policy to reduce the volatility of Oregon’s current system.

OSBA supports modification of the state's personal and corporate income tax “kicker” law to allow “kicker” funds to be deposited into a “rainy day” account and used in times of economic distress.

OSBA supports the authority of local districts to seek voter approval for supplemental operating revenue from a variety of additional sources, including local option levies.

OSBA supports efforts to modify the property tax system to mitigate the impacts of property tax compression.

1.3 Mandate Relief, Paperwork Reduction and Public Funds for Public Schools

OSBA advocates for mandate relief and paperwork reductions for school districts and ESDs as a means to streamline bureaucracy, remove duplicative or unnecessary reporting and get more resources into the classroom. OSBA opposes any mechanism that diverts public funds, including tax credits and vouchers, to private, religious or for-profit schools or erodes financial support of the public school system.

1.4 State Department of Education Supporting Districts

OSBA supports funding for Oregon Department of Education programs and state-level initiatives that are sustainable and provide quality technical and programmatic assistance and supports to school districts and ESDs targeted at improving student achievement.

OSBA supports providing resources and supports to school districts and education service districts to support and ensure the equitable distribution of any grant or strategic investment monies.

OSBA opposes any effort to create an accountability or intervention system that would lead to the state take-over of any local school, school district or ESD.

1.5 Financial and Program Accountability

OSBA supports a strong system of meaningful school district and ESD financial accountability for the expenditure of public funds and program accountability for student achievement and outcomes. 

1.6 State Bonding for School District Capital and Infrastructure Needs

OSBA supports use of additional state resources and the issuance of state general obligation bonds to assist school districts and ESDs in providing modern, well-equipped schools and academically appropriate classrooms and buildings that provide safe, structurally sound and healthy learning environments to promote student achievement.

Section 2: Programs 

2.1 School Improvement

OSBA supports state-level school improvement efforts provided they are implemented in ways that grant local school officials maximum flexibility to incorporate community needs and priorities.

2.2 Special Education

OSBA supports increased categorical funding and enhanced levels of state and federal aid for the costs associated with special education programs throughout the P-20 system. OSBA supports full funding for students with the most severe low-incidence, high-cost disabilities, including those served in out-of-district or out-of-state placements.

2.3 Education Service Districts

OSBA supports the role of ESDs to assist school districts in achieving Oregon's educational goals by providing equitable, high-quality, cost-effective, locally responsive educational services on a regional basis.

2.4 Curriculum, Technology and Online Education

OSBA supports providing a well-rounded and rigorous curriculum for all students, including opportunities for music, art, physical education (PE), world languages, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), career and technical education and co-curricular activities.

OSBA supports curriculum related decisions made at the district level and opposes state or federal instructional mandates.
OSBA supports the use of English Language Learner and language immersion programs as a viable way to provide needed support while integrating emerging bilingual speakers into the standard district curriculum.

OSBA supports increasing access to technology to enhance and support curriculum delivery and promote greater student achievement.

OSBA supports state level funding to support and improve the technology infrastructure available to school districts and ESDs. OSBA supports removing online education programs from the charter school statute.

OSBA supports state financial and professional development resources so districts can implement the Oregon state standards and student assessments and provide appropriate information and updates to the public. OSBA supports local control of curriculum and materials related to the Oregon state standards.

2.5 Public Charter Schools

OSBA supports public, district sponsored charter schools as an additional tool to provide innovative educational options to students.

OSBA opposes changes to the charter school law that would channel public funds to private and religious schools, allow entities other than school district boards to authorize charter schools within their boundaries, mandate direct access to the State School Fund by charter schools or decrease school district funding and oversight of charter schools.

2.6 Career and Technical Education (CTE)

OSBA supports new and continued partnerships with community colleges, higher education, apprenticeship programs, the business community and other entities to increase educational and career opportunities for students.

OSBA supports changes to teacher licensing laws to allow greater flexibility for individuals who do not hold a traditional teaching license to provide instruction in CTE courses.  

2.7 Post-Secondary Opportunities for High School Students

OSBA supports increased access and opportunities for students to participate in post-secondary programs and classes while enrolled in high school at minimal or no cost to the student. 

OSBA opposes the use of State School Fund dollars for five-year high school diploma programs that include a fifth year for post-secondary enrollment.  OSBA believes the state should instead establish a dedicated source of funds to invest in these programs that does not dilute the State School Fund. 

Section 3: Personnel 

3.1 Collective Bargaining and Management Rights

OSBA supports local control of collective bargaining and opposes statewide bargaining and the creation of a statewide salary schedule. OSBA supports changing the collective bargaining structure to eliminate “status quo” bargaining and establish shorter bargaining time lines. OSBA supports the right of districts to look for ways to contain costs by contracting with outside providers for services.

3.2 Employee Rights and Benefits

OSBA supports determination and definition of school employee rights and benefits through the collective bargaining process at the local level. OSBA supports an actuarially sound statewide retirement program for school employees that balances benefit adequacy for employees against costs for employers. OSBA supports local school boards working with employee groups to provide the most cost-effective health insurance plans, including Oregon Educators Benefit Board (OEBB) opt-out.

3.3 Teacher and Administrator Licensing

OSBA supports licensing requirements that assure a level of preparation necessary to teach to rigorous academic standards, recognize licenses from other states and understand the challenges districts face attracting and retaining qualified personnel. OSBA supports working collaboratively with the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) and the teacher preparation programs within higher education to prepare educators to increase student achievement and address the needs of all students in Oregon.

OSBA supports additional flexibility to allow more teachers to provide college-level instruction in public high schools.
OSBA supports changes to teacher licensing laws to allow greater flexibility for individuals who do not hold a traditional teaching license to provide instruction in CTE courses.

3.4 Teacher and Administrator Quality

OSBA recognizes that teacher and administrator quality is one of the most important factors in improving student achievement. OSBA supports local and state programs to provide professional development, mentoring and training for teachers and administrators that are rigorous and lead to a system of continuous improvement and growth in student achievement. OSBA supports rigorous, quality, ongoing evaluations of teachers and administrators, which include consideration of student achievement and growth. OSBA supports efforts to attract more diverse and multi-lingual school employees.

Section 4: Governance and Operations

4.1 Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB)

OSBA supports the continuation of OEIB under the following conditions:

  • OSBA strongly supports the appointment of educators and stakeholders that work directly with students and school districts, including public school board members and parents, to serve on the OEIB.
  • OSBA supports a sustainable and seamless P-20 education system in Oregon from pre-kindergarten through post-secondary that improves student achievement and student outcomes at all levels.
  • OSBA believes increased state and federal expectations for student outcomes must be accompanied by increased state and federal investments necessary to increase student achievement and support the state's 40-40-20 goals.
  • OSBA supports the use of the Achievement Compacts as a locally created tool to measure student achievement and local district outcomes and to set educational goals for school districts. OSBA opposes the use of the Achievement Compacts as a tool to justify state mandated interventions or state take-over of local schools, school districts or ESDs.

4.2 State Board of Education

OSBA supports a state Board of Education as the appropriate state-level policy-making body for elementary and secondary schools.

4.3 Local Governance

OSBA members believe that locally elected school district and ESD boards are best equipped to make decisions in the best interests of their students and communities and will strongly advocate for Oregon's tradition of democratically elected, local governance of school districts. OSBA opposes measures that would place additional restrictions on local voters’ ability to govern their school districts.

4.4 School Safety and Student Wellness

OSBA supports local measures that promote safety and wellness in the school environment for students, staff, parents, patrons and the community as a whole.


For more information contact Jim Green at 800-578-6722 or via e-mail at