Education

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February 28, 2022 - Week 4

Education bills were awarded significant fiscal funding in the short legislative session of 2022.

SB 1545-A The largest fiscal bill was the Governor’s workforce training bill “Establishing Prosperity 10,000 Program in Higher Education Coordinating Commission to be administered by local workforce development boards to provide workforce development services and wraparound support to program participants.” “The program is specifically targeted at ‘priority populations’, defined as communities of color, women, low-income communities, rural and frontier communities, veterans, persons with disabilities, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, members of Oregon's nine federally recognized Indian tribes, and individuals who disproportionately experience discrimination in employment on the basis of age.” The fiscal expenditures include: ODE 10.5 Million, HECC 167.3 Million, Bureau of Labor and Industries 20 Million, much coming from federal as well as general funds.

This bill was voted to the floor out of W&M SubCommittee on Education 2/23. Several Representatives and Senators applauded the timeliness of this bill, when education and workforce shortages were needed ASAP. Credit will be given for prior work experience as it applies to new and needed jobs in many areas of work education.

HB 4005-B This bill was a continuation of last session's debate on how to increase funding for childcare within the newly created Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC), and not eligible for public testimony. Fiscal impact for funding this transition: ODE $1.1 Million, Department of Human Services $26.6 Million (from 2021-23 general fund dollars, for increased reimbursement rates to childcare providers). This bill delays the rule for sprinkler systems in childcare facilities to Jan. 2024.

Bills we supported that are progressing:

HB 4124-B is to clarify the need for student assessment tests throughout the state, and determine best practices, so that unnecessary testing will not occur. This is a long term data collection process by ODE. School Districts and ESD’s expect a fiscal impact of 2.1 Million to comply the first year.

SB 5121-A sets a precedent for school boards making contracts which follow our laws. The bill concerns only without cause termination of Superintendents, when they are following state, federal, or local law. It has been contested in the House Education Committee as preventing local control. Amendments include 12 month notice for termination of Superintendent without cause. It is the hope of Superintendents throughout the state that better contracts can be made to attract more women and minorities into these leadership positions in education.

HB 4115 we supported for transparency in government, and education of the public on State Treasury funds in climate risk related areas. It is in the Revenue Committee, see this section of our LR and meeting 2/25/22.

Bills we are watching making progress are:

SB 1583 a bill brought by Sen. Frederick, with bipartisan support, will assure ODE ask for yearly national waivers for some non-essential student assessments. It is hoped that another type of testing called NAPE (statewide summative tests), will be administered instead, to a sampling of students, rather than comparing one student’s progress to another’s. This gives both teachers and students an idea of how they can improve, rather than creating anxiety, and defeating the purposes of education. Everyone on the education committees seems to agree: standardized tests are biased to certain socioeconomic groups, and we can do better and save money using teacher directed assessments.

If you have any questions, or would like to help lobby on a particular issue in the future, contact me at annenessevolunteerlwvor@gmail.com

An interesting discussion and testimony on a bill, SB 1552, that will turn into a WorkGroup on Increasing Virtual Charter School Participation, was had during the Senate Education Committee meeting last week, 2/24 at 1PM. You might be interested in joining the discussion, and if so listen to the recording?