Final accounting for 2022 session shows some good returns for students
The Legislature adjourned the short 2022 legislative session sine die Friday, March 4. Legislators eager to be home and done with session dispensed with partisan procedural tactics and suspended full-reading of every word of every bill. One of the biggest things legislators did before leaving Salem was to direct some of this year’s significant revenue windfall toward education.
HB 5202 is massive. It contains all the spending on almost all major budget items for this session. The portions relevant to education include $150 million for summer learning programs. These allocations will come in three parts, generally following the structure established by HB 5042 from last session:
- Summer high school academic grants ($32.9 million) to enable high school students to make up academic credits needed to stay on track for on-time graduation. Notably, this program requires a 25% local match from school districts.
- Summer K-8 enrichment grants ($66.9 million) for activities, including dance, art and outdoor programs; academic learning and readiness supports; and social and emotional and mental health services. This program also requires a 25% local match from school districts.
- Summer community activity grants ($50 million) to be awarded on a competitive basis for new and existing summer enrichment activities such as day camps, park programs and tutoring for K-12 students. The Oregon Association of Education Service Districts will administer this program.
Other education-related investments include:
- $120 million to relocate Portland Public School’s Harriet Tubman Middle School. Tubman has been at the center of policy debates around the expansion of Interstate 5 in Portland, water quality and addressing the needs of the school and its community.
- $100 million for child care in various forms, appropriated to the Department of Administrative Services and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, in concert with other bills on the topic, including HB 4005.
- $2 million for wage-parity investments for relief nurseries serving young, vulnerable Oregonians.
- $1.5 million for vision-screening requirements of SB 222 (2021).
- Various appropriations to the Early Learning Division and Oregon Department of Education to execute legislative mandates, including staffing for an education plan for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students.
HB 4030, while not as massive, is the education investment bill for the session. It allocates $100 million for education recruitment and retention grant efforts:
- $78.1 million for grants to school districts, education service districts and educational personnel membership organizations for recruiting and retaining education personnel.
- $19.5 million for substitute teacher and instructional assistant trainings.
- $2.2 million for staffing at ODE and the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission, as well as the University of Oregon for developing an education workforce data system.
- $673,000 for the TSPC to evaluate the requirements of and to establish a statewide-education workforce data system.
HB 4030 also makes some notable policy changes to alleviate workforce challenges facing schools by temporarily removing some restrictions, including:
- Background checks: Streamlines the background check process for individuals who have recently been licensed or had a background check by the TSPC.
- Licensure reciprocity: Directs the TSPC to study and implement changes to simplify the process for educator licensure reciprocity. TSPC shall report their findings no later than Sept. 1, 2022.
- Professional development: TSPC will adopt rules that provide for the reduction or suspension of professional development requirements that people must complete before they may renew a license, registration or certification through 2023.
- Statewide portal for jobs in education: ODE and TSPC, in consultation with districts and education service districts, will evaluate options for establishing and maintaining a statewide portal for education jobs, background checks and a common application for Oregon education jobs. ODE and TSPC shall report their findings to the Legislature no later than Sept. 1, 2023.
- Nonessential reporting requirements: Requires the State Board of Education to suspend non-essential reporting requirements through 2023.
- Education workforce data system: Requires TSPC, in partnership with the University of Oregon, to establish a workforce data system for the K-12 educator workforce by early 2024.
In contrast to these big budget bills, other bills will do one discreet thing to benefit education, notably:
- SB 1546: This bill will decouple the Elliott State Forest from the Common School Fund and turn it into an Oregon State University-managed research forest. It is the culmination of four years of discussions by stakeholder groups, including OSBA, and the bill will direct the final $121 million of a total of $221 million in funding to the Common School Fund.
- HB 4026: This bill will allocate $25 million to fund school districts impacted by enrollment losses as a result of the catastrophic 2020 wildfires. The bill guarantees funding at pre-wildfire enrollment levels for these districts until 2025. Notably, this bill is a one-time allocation, meaning it uses money that has already been collected, so there should not be any future need to request further support for these districts from the Legislature.
- Richard Donovan
Legislative Services specialist