The Freedom to Choose My School Grants

Below is the latest edition of the Wingard Report we feature regularly. If you want to get the entire report emialed please click here.

House Bill 3010: The School Choice Working Group (which I am a part of in my role with Cascade Policy Institute) has drafted a bill to create 1,000 state-funded scholarships for low-income children in Portland. HB 3010 got its First Reading Monday on the House floor and will now be referred to a committee””most likely the House Education Committee. Twenty-nine legislators co-sponsored the bill””nearly one third of the Oregon State Legislature.

HB 3010 creates a pilot project within the poorest neighborhoods in Portland to allow low-income parents the same access to school choice that higher-income Oregonians already enjoy. Here are the basic details of the pilot project:

Students Must be Low-income: To enroll, the student must qualify for the federal free-lunch program and live in a neighborhood where a majority of the students in the local public school also qualify for a free-lunch.

Qualifying Neighborhoods: Tentatively, the school neighborhoods that would qualify would be Boise-Eliot, Clarendon, Humboldt, King, Lent, Peninsula, Rigler, Rosa Parks, Sitton, Vernon, Whitman, Woodlawn, Woodmere, Binnsmead MS, George, Lane MS, Ockley Green MS, Portsmouth MS, Tubman MS, Jefferson HS and Roosevelt HS.

Grant Amount: The grant would be equal to the per-student funding (ADM) amount from the State School Fund””roughly $5,000.

No Negative Financial Effect on Portland Public Schools: The Portland School District will not lose any state funding during the pilot project. The point of this element is to remove the money excuse from the people who run PPS.

Random Selection: If more than 1,000 qualified students apply, grants will be given out by lottery.

Every single legislator who co-sponsored HB 3010 deserves our thanks. The bill’s two Chief
Sponsors are public school employees:
State Representative John Dallum was a school superintendent and
State Representative Jerry Krummel is a high school teacher.
Below are the emails of all 29 state legislators who stood up for minority parents in Portland. Courageous lawmakers need to be thanked. Please send them an email:

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

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Posted by at 06:14 | Posted in Measure 37 | 5 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • eagle eye

    I voted for vouchers when it was on the Oregon ballot, however it got shot down 2-1. One third of the Oregon legislature supports the proposal here — same proportion. Going nowhere for now.

    It’s a little hard to see why low income students — Portland only — should have “school choice” funded by the state, but not everyone else.

    It’s also interesting that for now, at least, they are not taking the money away from the Portland school district. That means it’s new spending in the State budget. 1000 students at $5000 a pop is $5 million. Not a huge amount, but aren’t these the people that always complain about the spending that others want?

    The article mentions standing up for “minority parents”. Then is this supposed to be another special program for minorities? Is the idea that the Portland schools are discriminating against minorities? That the underperformance of minorities is the fault entirely or primarily of the public schools? That going to private schools will somehow bring their performance up to the mark? All of this seems pretty dubious to me.

    If we want school choice, I say give to everyone, regardless of race or income. Don’t use the race card to try to sneak in school choice. It’s not likely to work in the long run, and it’s the same dirty stuff that has corrupted so much of our public life.

    • “It’s a little hard to see why low income students — Portland only — should have “school choice” funded by the state, but not everyone else.”

      Amen.

      rightoregon.org

  • Devietro

    Vouchers are the best way to deal with the funding “gap”, plain and simple. I just never want to see the day where private schools are forced to accept a student, the magic of private schools is that they can also reject students and we cant loose that.

    • eagle eye

      Ah, you want the private schools to retain their independence! So do I. Better be careful about government funding, even in the form of vouchers. Beyond funding at perhaps half the public school level, I think vouchers would inevitably lead to a de facto government takeover of participating private schools.

    • You make a good point about the government pushing their agenda on private schools. But I think we have to remember, or for that matter, the government needs to remember who’s $$ they are spending. It’s not the governments money, its ours.

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