Lawmakers propose deeper cuts to Oregon’s K-12 schools
Monday, April 17, 2017
The budget outlook for Oregon’s K-12 schools turned even more grim Monday afternoon when state lawmakers proposed spending $7.8 billion for the 2017-19 biennium – a scenario that they acknowledge will potentially translate to staff cuts and reduced class offerings.
Jim Green, OSBA’s executive director, said the latest figures spell disaster for Oregon students.
“We are going backwards, and trying to mortgage the future of our boys and girls,” Green said. “This is not acceptable. Instead of proposing more cuts we should be talking about how to reform how we pay for government services. It’s still not too late – but we need to change the conversation, right now. Our state’s economy is booming, and our children should be the beneficiaries of that, not the victims.”
The latest proposal comes from the powerful Joint Committee on Ways and Means, through a document titled “Ways and Means Co-Chairs 2017-19 Target Reduction Lists.” The new figure of $7.8 billion is about $287 million lower than what lawmakers consider “current service levels,” or what it would take to operate schools without making cuts. But according to local school business officials, the state’s estimates are insufficient, and the overall shortfall is about $600 million.