As leaders in education, we applaud the Oregon Education Investment Initiative introduced by Speaker Kotek and Chairs Nathanson and Barnhart. This proposal would raise taxes on large corporations to give us the K-12 school budget Oregon has been waiting for. Their proposal to implement a combination of corporate revenue reform and cost reduction is leadership in action.
The story of Oregon’s K-12 schools is too familiar — underfunded classrooms make class sizes too big and school years too short. Oregon has the 3rd largest class sizes in the country and one of the shortest school years. Budget cuts have slashed arts, music, and PE, and every year communities are forced to hand out pink slips to needed classroom teachers. According to Education Week, Oregon ranks 39th in the country for per-student funding.
This budget would begin to change all of that. By investing $1 billion into K-12 schools, we can add two weeks back to school year, reduce class sizes K-5 classrooms, invest in teacher mentoring, focus on equity, put a school nurse in every school, support for English learners, improve graduation rates and reduce chronic absenteeism and more. This is an investment in kids that we’ve needed for so long.
The Oregon Education Investment Initiative deserves the support of the education community, the legislature and the entire state. It gets Oregon close to the Quality Education Model funding level families deserve, and it allows every community to start reversing the years of cuts our classrooms have felt. Adopting this initiative would improve the lives of an entire generation of kids who otherwise would go without.
Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA)
Fully Fund Schools Oregon (FFS Oregon)
Scott Mills, North Marion School District Board Member
Carl West, Mapleton School Board Chair
Siobhan Burke, Multnomah Education Service District Board Member
Erick Flores, Parkrose School Board Member
Andrea Valderrama, David Douglas School Board Member
Paul Jorgensen, Bethel School Board Member
Twinkle Morton, Fern Ridge School District Board Chair
David Bolton, Fern Ridge School Board Member
Andrea Larson, Fern Ridge School Board Member
Emilio Hernandez, Springfield School Board
Matt Thatcher, COSA President