Co-chairs present devastating look at $7.8 billion school funding
Friday, April 21, 2017
Legislators gave a preview on Monday of what is to come for schools if there is no deal on revenue and cost containment this session.
The powerful Joint Committee on Ways and Means, through a document titled “Ways and Means Co-Chairs 2017-19 Target Reduction Lists,” paints a grim picture, setting the proposed allocation to the State School Fund at $7.8 billion for the 2017-19 biennium. The document acknowledges that this scenario will likely translate to staff cuts and reduced class offerings statewide.
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 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 too low and the overall shortfall is about $600 million. The full document can be found on the Oregon Legislature’s website.
We are losing ground and denying our boys and girls the education they deserve. Now – today and over the next few days – Oregon’s students need you to once again raise your voices on their behalf. Next week please contact your state legislator to urge a school funding number of $8.4 billion. At $7.8 billion we are $600 million short of what is needed for districts to continue to offer the same programs and services.
School business managers, administrators, teachers and board members across the state agree that $7.8 billion will lead once again to layoffs and lost school days. Make your voice heard with OSBA advocacy resources and the help of Oregon Rising.
We cannot stand by while we rob our children’s future.