This Monday, youâ€™ve got an opportunity to speak out and make a difference for school funding.
Gov. Kitzhaber will be in Portland on Monday evening for a town hall
Oregon has the third largest class sizes in the country, and one of the shortest school years.on education. Itâ€™s your chance to make your voice heard about the need to put more money into our classrooms Â by reining in out of control tax breaks and using tax dollars Â efficiently. Visit this linkÂ to let us know youâ€™ll be there:http://ouroregon.org/townhallÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Kitzhaber Town Hall on EducationMonday, March 18 6-7:30pm, Madison High School 2735 NE 82nd Avenue Portland, Oregon 97220 The questions for the town hall are being moderated by the Portland School Boardâ€”get your question in now by submitting them toÂ the PPS Facebook page. Here are some facts to help you put your questions together: Â
Over the next two years, Oregon is expected to give away more than $36 billion in tax breaks.
Since 2009, the amount of money Oregon gives away in tax breaks has grown by 29%, even while budgets for schools and critical services have been cut.
Oregon is now tied for the lowest business taxes in the nation.
Funding for K-12 schools is $3 billion below what experts believe we need in order to provide a quality education for every Oregon kid.
Our Oregon has already responded to the new legislative budget proposal. Here is an excerpt from their blog today:Â
Thereâ€™s a path forward to protect our schools, health care, and the critical programs that keep our communities safe and healthy.
This morning, the chief budget writers of the Oregon legislature released their proposal for how to fund schools, health care, and public safety over the next two years.
While the co-chairs of the Joint Ways and Means Committee have recognized that itâ€™s critical to put more money into the things that matter mostâ€”K-12 classrooms, senior care, and help for struggling familiesâ€”thereâ€™s still much more to be done to make sure the budget isnâ€™t balanced solely on the backs of the middle class.
Thereâ€™s a way to stop cutsÂ to things that matter most, protect retired seniors, and make sure large corporations and the wealthy are paying their fair share. Time is of the essence! If you want your voice heard in support of Our Oregon’s proposals, you need to contact your legislators by email or phone as soon as possible this week!
In order to protect the priorities that all Oregonians value, weâ€™ve identifiedÂ more than $700 millionÂ that can be used now to hire back teachers, lower class sizes, protect senior health care, and ensure that critical services are there for families when they need them.
Our proposals include $278 million in government savings, nearly $300 million by capping tax breaks for wealthy households, and using some reserve funds now.
See the entire blog with details on their proposed ways to stop cuts here on their Sockeye Blog.
You can find your legislators and TAKE ACTION TODAY to let themÂ know that you support these cost savings proposed by Our Oregon.
Here is a handy graphic of the proposals they are making:
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…Â and House of Representatives Minority Leader Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte…Â McLane both said the economy would be a top priority, as well as education funding…Â Make changes to Oregonâ€™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 donâ€™t pass the reform packages…
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 aÂ new postsecondary boardÂ 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:Â 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:Â 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.
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:
Only three days into the 2012-2013 school year and already there is tons to report as far as ways to get involved in supporting school funding. I already talked about the Portland Schools bond measure we’ll be voting on come November and provided a link to the Our Portland, Our Schools website for more information. With schools back in session, the campaign is wasting no time getting moving, announcing just this week their campaign co-chairs:Â Governor Barbara Roberts, Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Student Representative to the School Board, Alexia Garcia. Â Today they announced their first fundraiser and YOU are invited! If you would like to support the bond by doing a little bowling, this could be just for you: