Home arrow Latest News arrow Co-Chairs' budget would allocate $5.7 billion to schools
Co-Chairs' budget would allocate $5.7 billion to schools Print E-mail

The Oregon legislature's Joint Committee on Ways and Means Co-Chairs (Sen. Richard Devlin, Rep. Peter Buckley, Rep. Dennis Richardson) released their state budget yesterday, allocating a reported $5.7 billion to the State School Fund.

The Co-Chairs arrived at the $5.7 billion figure:

  • by taking Gov. Kitzhaber’s recommended total of $5.557 billion and adding $20 million to get to $5.577 billion;
  • then adding $23 million from the Common School Fund to get to $5.6 billion; and
  • then adding $100 million from the Education Stability Fund to get to $5.7 billion.
"This is a small step in the right direction," COSA Executive Director Kent Hunsaker said.  He also pointed to a couple of concerns with the construction of the $5.7 billion in the Co-Chairs' budget, including:
  • The Common School Fund is considered to be local revenue. "Adding money from the Common School Fund to the State School Fund is like saying local taxes will increase and we are also going to count that as part of the State School Fund," Hunsaker said. COSA is working to determine if Common School Fund revenue will actually increase by an additional $23M from the figures used in the Governor’s budget.
  • The $100 million from the Education Stability Fund has a number of strings attached, most specifically the requirement that it be used “solely for reduction in class sizes and enhancement of learning opportunities, including, but not limited to increasing number of school days in the 2011-12 school year.” It also comes with some reporting requirements. For more details, see the Co-Chairs Initial Agreement.
  • The Co-Chairs' Budget also potentially allocates another $56 million to the State School Fund in March 2012 if future state revenue forecasts support that allocation.

The Co-Chairs are planning to move on this K-12 budget as soon as possible. COSA is working with its education partners to try to convince the legislature to delay passage of the K-12 budget until after the next state revenue forecast (set for May 12).  "We believe that it’s still possible – given the level of projected reserves in the budget – to increase the K-12 funding level to a number higher than $5.7 billion, especially if the next forecast is flat or higher."

"There is no good reason to adopt this budget now," Hunsaker said. "Not when it might be a possible to tap available resources to prevent the layoff of hundreds of teachers and other school employees throughout Oregon, and to assure that students have fuller school years, smaller class sizes, and more programs and opportunities."

This page was last updated on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 .