Senate Republicans push for enough funding for 4,000 new teachers

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Oregon Senate Republicans

Salem, OR – Monday, Senate Republicans released a “Reverse Christmas Tree” package of wasteful spending bills passed or by the Democrat-controlled legislature this session. The $203 million in expensive, unnecessary projects and policies should be sent immediately instead to the State School Fund, they argued.

“Democrat leaders have spent the past five months pushing expensive, partisan programs through the legislature that cost Oregonians real money,” said Senator Chuck Thomsen (R-Hood River). “Now they want to create a Task Force to figure out how to reduce class sizes? The answer is simple: more funding and more teachers. We don’t need a task force; we need to fully fund education now.”

Earlier this session, Senate Republicans advocated for an $8 billion K-12 education budget, allocating unexpected revenue from economic growth to Oregon schools. Instead, Democrats passed a $7.373 billion education budget, which will force school districts across the state to lay off teachers and cut school days.

By adding this additional $203 million to the State School Fund, Senate Republicans explained, Oregon schools could hire 4,067 new teachers next year.

“Democrats refused to fully fund K-12 education this session, despite an extra $1.8 billion in new revenue and multiple opportunities to pass a fully funded budget,” explained Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “We’ve passed $203 million worth of new mandates and programs that don’t reflect Oregon values. Oregon citizens believe fully funding education is the legislature’s top priority, and we have an opportunity to live up to their expectations by allocating the funds in this Reverse Christmas Tree package straight to our classrooms.”

The Reverse Christmas Tree package was announced ahead of the final version of what is known as the Christmas Tree bill, an omnibus bill that allocates funding to new programs. Some of the funding in the Reverse Christmas Tree package includes $768,000 to implement the new Motor Voter law (SB 5036); an $87,673 General Fund appropriation to enforce the toy ban (SB 478); $778,141 for implementation of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (SB 324); and $10,408,710 for Passenger Rail (HB 5040).

In May, Senate Republicans decried the theft of $61.3 million from the corporate kicker that Oregon voters intended to allocate to the education budget. Should Democrats follow the direction of voters and give the corporate kicker money back to schools, alongside funds from the Reverse Christmas Tree package, the legislature could allocate over $250 million more to K-12 education next biennium.

A motion to adopt the Reverse Christmas Tree amendment failed on a party-line vote in the Oregon Senate.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Education, OR 78th Legislative Session, Oregon Senate | 7 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • nan

    we must have new teachers. I am a teacher and I have to teach 29 students!! This is insane. The largest class size anyone should have is 20- 22 max. Otherwise we are not truly reaching our students. We can hardly be expected to be best buds with over 28 kids! I actually think a better class size would be about 12 – 15 max. This way I could get to know each and every child, learn their needs and wants, and better deal with their emotions and such like whilst trying to teach them the basics.
    I also hope this funding will help with our low salaries, too, which also makes it hard for me to get my mind in gear and do my best when I am barely making a living wage. Now I have to pay some of my health care, too, and it used to be totally free.
    Something is going wrong…and thankfully the repubs are stepping up to the plate to swing a homer!!!!

    • Nick L. Seatz

      A ploy named SEIU, OEAh!

  • Bob Clark

    Willamette Week most aptly calls Oregon’s K-12 public education monolith the “Beast.” We need deregulation of this monolith, not feeding it more bucks. Online technology allows for increased class sizes, with great teaching lessons reaching many more students. What is needed is paralegal like student coaches helping keep students focused and on target with their individual tailored education development plan targeted towards ultimately getting the child out of their parents’ basement and into an engaging fruitful life (work ethic and self reliance).

    • guest

      WRITE ON!

  • bifford

    Senate and House Republicans idea of accomplishment is enough to cause gag reflex. They think they’re getting political advantage by advocating for $300 million MORE than the Dems! And they couldn’t wait to raise the gas tax. Remember, these are the same people responsible for causing Oregon to be the ONLY state to lose Republican House and Senate seats in a very red 2014 election year. How’s that Democrat light thing working out for us?

    • Satire .

      Like you’re Dem shill fulla the stuff and nonsense that makes smile lines multiply exponentially upon Hillary’s farce.

  • NAFTA Refugee

    If the misappropriation of funds is this blatant, perhaps a one page add needs to be taken out in the Oregonian alerting the folks. Maybe a TV ad? Not everyone reads the catalyst. Now that the trade deal is passed, why not print it in the paper? Let’s see if it’s really as good as the wine growers say it is. If the export money comes rolling in, the tax base goes up, more money for schools. Right?

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