It is critical to ensure that we are supporting our students as they continue recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. But current budget proposals shortchange students by $300 million, a gap that will hurt kids across Oregon, particularly those most in need of the help that schools provide. The new revenue forecast predicts $1 billion in additional revenue for the next budget.
Our schools need at least $9.6 billion for next biennium’s State School Fund.
The next two years will be critical for the success of Oregon students. As we continue to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic and support success for students of all backgrounds and abilities, schools must have the funding they need to achieve these goals.
The Legislature is currently planning to provide $9.3 billion for the State School Fund, the operational budget for our schools, in the next budget. School districts calculate that is $300 million short of what is needed to maintain operations at the same levels as the last budget. This at a time when schools must be doing more, not less, to help students recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Failure to provide $9.6 billion in this budget will translate into real reductions by districts, including cutting educator positions and other staff, instructional time, and other critical programs and services to support our students.
The global pandemic has taken a toll on all of us, but especially on our kids. It has worsened inequities for historically underserved students, including those in Oregon’s Tribal, Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and other communities of color; those navigating poverty; and those living in rural communities. Supporting these students and achieving the Student Success Act’s vision will require new ways to engage and support students. The newest projections call for about $1 billion more in new revenue every biennium through 2025. This is simply not the time to be asking our schools to do more with less.
Take action today! Tell Oregon legislators our students cannot afford to lose any more instructional time or critical services.