Legislative Report - Week of 5/22
By Anne Nesse
Leadership Announces Historic Budgets for State School Fund, Early Learning and Literacy Success
On May 22, presiding Senate and House officers announced “an historic $10.2 billion investment into the State School Fund (SSF), $700 million above current service level and the most ever allocated to the fund.
When paired with local property tax revenues, the total formula resources for K-12 schools reaches $15.3 billion, a 12.3% increase over current resources, which will ensure Oregon’s schools and educators will have the tools they need to prepare Oregon's students for the future.”
Several Bills were voted to the floor from House and Senate Education Committees this week, on their way to passage into law. Some by narrow margins, ostensibly over discussions of inadequate potential funding. Even though the recent May economic forecast exceeded expectations, totaling approximately over $1.9 Billion dollars of what was anticipated. Thankfully leadership was able to make some prioritized decisions listed above in an historic $15.3 billion dollar education budget! More to come in next week's newsletter.
• SB 489 Eliminates restrictions on payment of unemployment insurance benefits to certain nonprofessional educational workers. This gives these employees some extra income stability. It was noted by Susan Allen, OSEA, that most of these employees are working for comparatively low wages, and they would appreciate this protection.
• SB 736 Requires DOE to conduct a study to identify how to increase access to advanced instruction for the purpose of preparing students for college and career, written for talented and gifted students.
• SB 473 -1, Directs school district board to adopt a prevention curriculum that addresses child sex trafficking. This was amended to be a study of possible curriculum by DOE, and Sen. Hansell, chief sponsor of the Bill, announced he now no longer supports this change. It was announced that the group “In Our Backyard” will be involved, if this passes.
• SB 819 A-16, Modifies abbreviated school day program requirements for students with disabilities. This Bill attempts to preserve some rights to parents and children with disabilities that are Federally mandated. This created a lot of discussion of the possibility of not enough staff, or money to cover these costs.
• HB 3068 A, Provides that high school a student in grade 11 or 12 may be awarded a high school equivalency diploma if the student has received a certificate for passing approved high school equivalency test and meets other conditions. Within the bill is the study of the possibility of creating an entirely new type of high school diploma.
HB 3199 A, Modifies calculation of required minutes of physical education for middle school students to be based on weekly calculation.