Home arrow COSA Blogs arrow OEIB, NCLB Waiver, funding and the legislature – ‘exciting’ times in Oregon
OEIB, NCLB Waiver, funding and the legislature – ‘exciting’ times in Oregon Print E-mail

craig-hawkins-2.jpgby Craig Hawkins, Executive Director

The last few months have been incredibly busy – not to mention exciting and challenging – on the Oregon's education policy and advocacy fronts.  

We will have a number of opportunities to discuss the most pressing issues – including school funding and the upcoming legislative session, the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) and achievement compacts, Oregon’s ESEA Flexibility Waiver application, and more – during our OASE/OACOA Winter Conference at Salishan this week.  

We will kick things off at 3:00 Thursday afternoon with an OASE Off-The-Record meeting featuring a legislative session preview from Sen. Ted Ferrioli and Rep. Peter Buckley.  At that meeting, we will also delve into OEIB and achievement compacts, as well as the NCLB waiver.  These topics will be discussed again on Friday at a handful of breakout sessions – including a 1:00 p.m. breakout about the February legislative session (presented by Chuck Bennett), and a 2:15 p.m. breakout about the OEIB and achievement compacts (presented by OEIB Board members Yvonne Curtis and Mark Mulvihill).

Whether you will be attending the Winter Conference or not, though, we thought you might appreciate a brief update about each of these issues.

School Funding and the Legislative Session

After talking with legislative leaders, the legislative revenue office and others, it seems fairly certain that what we are currently expecting ($5.725 billion for K-12 in 2012-13) is likely to be what we will get for the rest of the biennium.  The general consensus seems to be that the Feb. 8 state revenue forecast may be down slightly, but not enough to approach the state's remaining $169 million ending fund balance.  Coupled with what appears to be an overall legislative resolve to do no more harm to schools, this means that K-12 funding is likely to remain unchanged for the biennium.  In general, given the current consensus among economists that the U.S. will avoid another recession, and overall improvement in national employment numbers, Oregon’s outlook appears marginally better than it did a few months ago.  

That said, we are asking each district to provide us with a one-page narrative about your budget situation for next year.  We will use the narratives to help legislators maintain their resolve to protect schools from further cuts and, if the opportunity arises, to advocate for providing schools with some or all of the additional $56 million for 2012-13 legislators were hoping to allocate to K-12 if revenue forecasts allow.

In addition to the upcoming legislative session, we will be discussing the work of the OASE Funding Coalition at Salishan.  In the fall, the Funding Coalition adopted a number of advocacy positions to provide direction on funding matters for COSA staff.  Beginning at our Feb. 24 meeting, the Funding Coalition will undertake a process of developing recommendations for the OEIB about how to “define and achieve a stable and sustainable baseline of funding” for 2013-15 and thereafter.

OEIB and Achievement Compacts

OASE and COSA supported Senate Bill 909, which formed the OEIB, during the 2011 legislative session, and we have continued to be actively engaged with the OEIB and the governor’s staff.   As you know, three superintendents – Yvonne Curtis, Mark Mulvihill and Nancy Golden – are on the Oregon Education Investment Board.  The executive summary of the OEIB's report to the legislature gives some good background.

COSA and the OASE Vision & Policy Task Force weighed in with achievement compact recommendations in November; please note that these recommendations were intentionally submitted as a “draft” document because we believe the achievement compacts are, and should continue to be, a work in progress.  Please also note that the latest draft achievement compact from the OEIB borrows from the recommendations we submitted.  

Last week, the COSA Board voted to support draft legislation that moves OEIB forward.  This legislation does two main things.  First, it gives the yet-to-be-hired Chief Education Officer authority, “for matters related to the design and organization of the state’s education system,” over the leaders of the Oregon Department of Education, the community college commissioner, the chancellor of the Oregon University System, the early childhood system director, and a few others.  Second, it defines achievement compacts, including the contents, process, timeline and reporting.  There appears to be quite a bit of flexibility in the proposed legislative language, which reflects the thinking that the compacts should continue to evolve over time.

We will be discussing the achievement compacts and OEIB at Salishan, including sharing some example documents developed by Springfield and Beaverton schools.  We look forward to your thoughts about additional support or resources that would be helpful to you.

ESEA Flexibility Waiver

As you undoubtedly know, the process for developing Oregon's ESEA Flexibility Waiver application ran throughout the fall and early winter.  A number of administrators were involved in the work groups that created the initial draft.  COSA provided written comments about the initial draft in December.  Last week, the COSA Board voted to support Oregon’s waiver request.  Oregon’s waiver request was submitted yesterday.

The system described in the waiver request is not one any of us would have designed if we had the opportunity to start with a blank slate, but given the federal requirements, there appears to be near unanimity that the waiver, if granted, will provide an improvement over the current NCLB system.  

There are breakout sessions about the Oregon’s NCLB waiver at the Winter Conference.

We hope to see you there.

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This page was last updated on Monday, January 30, 2012 .