The Oregon Legislature is back in session, starting today, Monday, February 4, 2013. In case you haven’t yet heard,
…Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, put out a recommended budget that included two mandates for the legislature:
…Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem… and House of Representatives Minority Leader Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte… McLane both said the economy would be a top priority, as well as education funding… Make changes to Oregon’s criminal justice system and Public Employees Retirement System. He tied the savings to education funding in his proposed budget and told legislators to cut $1 billion from the state budget if they don’t pass the reform packages…
For the full Salem Statement-Journal story from today’s edition, go online to: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20130204/NEWS/302040005/Oregon-Legislature-begins-work-earnest?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Home|p.
And from today’s Oregonian:
As usual, most of the attention will be on money. Kitzhaber has proposed $6.15 billion for K-12 schools in 2013-15, an 8 percent increase from the current two-year budget. School advocates want more. Kitzhaber says he can deliver what he has proposed only if the Legislature approves controversial changes to the Public Employee Retirement System. He and his chief education officer, Rudy Crew, also will ask lawmakers to earmark $10 million to $120 million for four key initiatives — early childhood reading; science, math and engineering; advising to nudge students toward college; and recruiting, training and mentoring of teachers.
In the higher ed arena, Kitzhaber wants the Legislature to recast the power structure to create a new postsecondary board over universities, community colleges and state financial aid. University champions also want to permit some universities to create their own boards, independent of systemwide control.
Watch list: Kitzhaber and his handpicked education lieutenants, Crew and schools chief Rob Saxton, will make the case for their spending and governance changes. The Oregon Education Association, which was unhappy with the education package the governor helped push through last session, should never be counted out.
Politics: School boards, superintendents and the teachers union all are expected to oppose parts of Kitzhaber’s plans, instead advocating higher spending on schools and less earmarking of how that money can be spent. Democrats are looking at alternative ways to pump more money into schools.
You may want to keep an eye on The Oregonian’s Oregon Education section in Politics: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/
I will be posting most likely more frequently in the days and weeks to come with action items for those who may want to get involved in trying to increase funding for Oregon Schools. A few groups to watch or to check out for more information on the history of education funding in Oregon include:
Oregon Education Association
Oregon Save our Schools
Our Portland, Our Schools
Invest in Oregon’s Kids
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, see groups or events you would like me to post about and/or have suggestions or ideas for me.