Funding Schools Without Raising Taxes
Taxpayer Association of Oregon Lawmaker Profile Series
Written by Rebecca Tweed
Representative Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio) has introduced legislation to help remedy an issue facing one of the school districts in House District 17. The district is struggling with the inability to install energy-efficient windows in their classrooms, due to Oregon’s prevailing wage law. “They want to be energy-efficient, but they’re basically getting punished for it,” says State Representative Sherrie Sprenger. Currently, any contracted jobs that would cost over $50,000 require the contractor to pay prevailing wage to their employees, increasing the cost to hire their firm. With this regulation, the local school district can’t afford the upgrades.
State Representative Sherrie Sprenger is suggesting to raise the minimum for contractors to get hired from $50,000 to $100,000, allowing for more contractors to make bids and at less cost to the schools. “We want to hire local contractors. Help them get through tough times too.” The legislation would apply only to school districts for a four year period.
Finding new avenues to resources and economic growth through legislation that doesn’t require a tax increase is a consistent focus for Representative Sprenger. “Tax increases would be horrible for people in my district right now,” says Representative Sherrie Sprenger. “We are not going to tax ourselves out of this recession.”
Representative Sherrie Sprenger isn’t new to delving through budgets, dealing with concerned citizens or being in the spotlight for representing a community. With over five years of experience on the Lebanon Community School Board, long hours and tough decisions are old hat for the freshman Representative and they don’t stop now that she’s in Salem. “My job is to represent my district to Salem, not Salem to my district,” says Representative Sprenger.
Representative Sherrie Sprenger doesn’t take education lightly. She works closely with five different superintendents in her district and believes that education, the economy and the environment can be worked on together. “I sat down with my superintendents and asked “˜how can I help you through this crunch?’ and we discussed ideas and suggestions and remedies. They’ve trusted me to help them and represent them,” says Representative Sherrie Sprenger. “It’s a big responsibility.”