Passed by lawmakers in 6-hour session
At Roosevelt Elementary School in Medford, Oregon, Gov. Ted Kulongoski was joined Tuesday by students, teachers, education leaders and legislators for the signing of House Bill 3510, which dedicates an additional $42.2 million in state lottery money to all 198 Oregon school districts for the 2006-07 school year.
Last Thursday, at the governor's request, the Legislature met in special session and passed the bill to provide additional money to public schools.
"Today we're doing something good for the school kids of Oregon. We are investing in you, your education and Oregon's future," Kulongoski said to a room full of students. "This bill represents what we can achieve when we put politics aside and the interest of Oregonians first."
The state will distribute the additional money to school districts according to the existing school funding formula, which means an additional $910,718 for the Medford School District to help restore critical teaching positions, create equity in class size, stabilize the k-12 music program, extend the Summer School Program to provide extra support for students who need additional instruction time, and strengthen school security to ensure student safety.
The Governor also noted that in the 2005-07 session Oregon increased state funding for k-12 by eight percent and that the additional $42.2 million to schools brings the increase to nine percent for the coming school year. The state will distribute the additional money to all 198 school districts in the state according to an existing formula. For the district-by-district breakdown, go to: http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/docs/Schools.pdf.
"I'm proud of this legislative package, because it will provide money that will help improve the education of children all across Oregon-money schools can use to maintain full school years, begin to reduce class sizes and reinstate valuable programs," the Governor said. "It is a first step toward renewing our commitment to excellence in public education."
The Governor also highlighted his Education Enterprise plan, which provides a long-term strategy to stabilize education funding, "putting the days of cutting school budgets behind us forever," the Governor continued.
Under the Education Enterprise, the state would manage and pay for public education as a seamless system that begins with pre-kindergarten and encompasses K-12, community colleges, four-year institutions, and workforce training and re-training.
The Education Enterprise would guarantee successive budget increases for every part of the education system of at least 10 percent each biennium and create an education investment fund. Under the Education Enterprise, and if the Legislature approves the Governor's education budget of $6 billion for k-12 for the 07-09 school years, Oregon will rise above the national average for per-student spending by the end of the 07-09 biennium and-with the guaranteed 10 percent increase-would enable the k-12 budget for 2009-11 to grow to more than $7.0 billion.
"Funding the Education Enterprise isn't just important for families with children in public schools - it is important to all of us as Oregonians," the Governor said. "The bottom line is this: we cannot have first rate job growth, or a first rate quality of life, or a first rate environment, or a first rate health care system for anyone in this state if we try to get by with a second rate education system. My education enterprise will not let that happen."