Home arrow COSA Blogs arrow Part II: Funding Coalition weighs in on Chalkboard's school funding proposals
Part II: Funding Coalition weighs in on Chalkboard's school funding proposals Print E-mail

tim-labrousseby Tim Labrousse, Chair, OASE Funding Coalition and Kent Hunsaker, Executive Director, COSA

This is the second installment in a two-part blog seeking your comments on the OASE Funding Coalition’s recommendations about the Chalkboard Project’s proposals for improving Oregon schools.  This week, the focus is on “Accountability & Funding.”

kent-hunsaker SALEM – After extensive review, the Funding Coalition of the Oregon Association of School Executives (OASE) has issued recommendations aimed at fine-tuning the Chalkboard Project’s recently-released proposals for improving Oregon schools.  (Please tell us what you think of the recommendations via the e-comment form at the end of this blog.)

The OASE Funding Coalition, a representative group of 44 school superintendents that studies issues related to K-12 finance and legislation, is supportive overall of Chalkboard’s proposals, with two very important conditions. First, we believe many of the proposals need to be modified, and our recommendations suggest in what ways.  Second, Chalkboard’s proposals require significant additional funding.  The OASE Funding Coalition won't support the proposals unless that additional funding – well above current rollup costs – is approved by the Legislature.

The Funding Coalition’s recommendations were developed during two lengthy sessions this spring.  The recommendations are made in the spirit of improving Chalkboard's proposals so that they can be effective and productive in assisting schools and the kids we serve.  Despite more than a decade of disinvestment in Oregon's K-12 systems, our schools have continued to get better, thanks to the commitment of teachers, classified employees, administrators, parents and, of course, students.  With the modifications we recommend and the additional funding to implement them, the Funding Coalition believes that Chalkboard's proposals can be a constructive force in bolstering Oregon's ongoing success with school improvement and student achievement.

Visit Chalkboard to view the proposals in their entirety and offer comment via a Chalkboard survey, and please be sure to join the conversation below.  Our experience is that Chalkboard takes public input seriously, as many of their proposals have already been modified based on input from COSA and other education groups.  We have invited Chalkboard to participate in this blog, and we will share your comments with them.

Here are the Chalkboard Project’s proposals and the Funding Coalition's recommendations.  They are presented here in the same order as Chalkboard’s list of proposals.  They do not reflect the priority the Funding Coalition places on each proposal. 

We’re very interested in your opinions.  Please lend your voice to this conversation (see e-comment form at the end of the proposals).

 

ACCOUNTABILITY & FUNDING

STATEWIDE EFFICIENCIES / SCHOOL AUDITS

Chalkboard Proposal:  Launch a statewide program to find and implement cost savings, such as by “pooling” (with other districts and/or statewide) supply purchases or reducing health care costs. 

Chalkboard Proposal: Give the State Board of Education the authority to conduct school performance audits.

The Funding Coalition believes that many cost-savings measures, such as cooperative purchasing, have already been implemented by districts, but supports continued emphasis on efficient use of tax dollars, as well as additional funding for voluntary pilot projects that focus on best practices and identify potential cost savings and efficiencies.


TRANSPORTATION COSTS

Chalkboard Proposal:  Provide fixed grants to districts for transportation costs, encouraging efficiency in district busing practices.

The Funding Coalition supports an external review of current transportation funding, but does not believe that fixed grants should be implemented unless or until a comprehensive review determines that they are the best solution.


DISTRICT SPENDING

Chalkboard Proposal:  Adopt Chalkboard’s Open Book$ Project.  The Open Book$ Project is an online tool to make it easier for the public to understand and track K-12 district spending.

The Funding Coalition supports the Open Book$ Project in the belief that it is a clear and effective way to show the public just how well schools actually spend tax dollars.  The Funding Coalition encourages districts to display the Open Book$ Project logo on their home page.


STABILIZE THE SYSTEM

Chalkboard Proposal:   Double the size of the state’s school stability fund to equal 10% of the state’s general fund, convert it to general “rainy day” fund for schools and other state services, and fill the fund by redirecting the personal and corporate income tax “kicker.”

The Funding Coalition supports a 10% stability fund for state government services and the use of the “kickers” to fill the fund.  The Funding Coalition believes that this is an imperative step so that schools and other state programs have greater stability and are better able to meet the needs of Oregonians during downturns in the state’s economy.


PER STUDENT SPENDING

Chalkboard Proposal:   Establish a new guaranteed level of state school funding per student – a “floor” the state will never go below.

The Funding Coalition supports adequate, stable, predictable K- 12 funding. In order for the Funding Coalition to support “a floor” it must be sufficient to enable districts to meet state and federal standards.  The Quality Education Model is the best existing example of adequacy and sufficiency.


EXTRA LOCAL MONEY

Chalkboard Proposal:   Repeal the state laws that allow some communities, but not others, to raise varying amounts of money through local school levies.  Replace them with a new law that allows every school district to ask for extra local money equal to 15 percent of what it receives from the state school fund.

The Funding Coalition supports local communities having an opportunity to raise additional funding for schools as long as communities with lower assessed property value/pupil have additional state support to raise funding equivalent to districts with higher assessed value/pupil.

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This page was last updated on Monday, June 12, 2006 .