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Legislature moving toward adjournment Print E-mail

chuck-bennett.jpgby Chuck Bennett, Director of Governmental Relations

The Legislature is moving rapidly toward adjournment -- perhaps as early as next week. There are a number of issues of interest to COSA members still on the table.

COSA continues to advocate actively for SB 909, the governor’s education investment board and SB 552, which makes the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s position an appointed one.

Here’s a look at some of the more controversial bills (final versions of these bills only became available Thursday evening). They are currently moving toward final votes in the House and Senate:

SB 250 – This is the ESD bill. The final version moving forward would make a number of changes in ESD policy. One of the biggest changes would be a cut in ESD funding by trimming its share of the State School Fund from 4.75 to 4.5 percent. That’s a reduction of about $15 million for the ESDs and an addition of $14.5 for school districts statewide. A half million dollars is being allocated for a new office at ODE to analyze regional service delivery systems. The bill also includes a provision allowing districts in Willamette, Northwest Regional, Multnomah and the Baker portion of Intermountain ESDs to opt out of the ESD and take 90% of their total funding including state and local funds with them.

SB 248 – Creates a full-day kindergarten option for districts beginning in 2015 and allows districts to claim a full weight ADM for those students. Between now and then, districts offering full-day K can continue to charge tuition.

HB 2301 – This bill deals with on-line charter schools by removing the requirement that 50% of the on-line students must come from the chartering district and allowing the schools to recruit up to 3% of any district’s student population into their on-line schools.

HB 3645 – This one adds community colleges, higher education institutions and the Oregon Health Sciences University as entities able to approve charter schools. The change is done by including the post secondary institutions as alternatives to the State Board of Education as entities that can deal with appeals from charter applicants denied by local school boards. The bill also allows charter applicants to rewrite the applications for the appeal to higher education institutions.  The higher education charters also will receive 90 and 95% of the State School Fund distribution. Community colleges will be able to try to opt out of the system by proving that accepting a charter is not in line with their education goals for the institution.

HB 3681 – Inter-district transfers of students is the topic in this bill. It will begin in the 2012-13 school year and require students to apply for transfer to another district by April 1. Basically permission need only come from the receiving district. The big changes in the current system will be new mandates on districts that elect to receive student transfers. It begins with districts writing a policy to receive students, identify slots in specific schools for them, make those slots available first to students inside their own district, establish an equitable lottery system that creates an open enrollment for all students seeking admission to the district, and accept students with IEPs developed by their home district.  Or, if that’s too much, districts can decide not to accept any inter-district transfers. The whole system would sunset in 2017 but districts would have to keep students they have accepted during the program.

COSA has actively opposed earlier iterations of the three House Bills – 2301, 3645 and 3681 – and encouraged substantial amendments. Members of the Legislature have been actively seeking local educators advice on these various bills and we encourage you to make contact with your members of the House or Senate and share your views on them. If you need any further information please don’t hesitate to contact me by email or phone – chuck@cosa.k12.or.us or 503-551-3055.

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This page was last updated on Monday, June 20, 2011 .