Rep. Richardson: Rethinking education funding

dennis-chamber.serendipityThumbLawmaker profile of State Representative Dennis Richardson on education funding
Author: Christiana Mayer
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Lawmaker Profile

Right now public education in the United States is behind such countries as  Ireland, Estonia and Poland.  It it clear that something needs to be done. Representative Dennis Richardson believes that local control over public education is a crucial part of reforming education and making sure that our children get the education that they need.

“Reform education by returning education control to the lowest level.  The level closest to the student and ensure funding follows the student,” said Richardson.

Taxpayer are constantly told that in order to have a good public education system more money is needed for our schools.  Several bills to reform Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) have been introduced in the current legislative session to find more money.  Most school districts blame the escalating cost of PERS as one reason why they have had to trim budgets.   Some of the ideas being talked about in the State Capitol are the PERS reform plan to limit  the cost-of-living adjustments for the first $24,000 of a retiree’s benefits which saves $400 million a year. Another PERS reform plan to limit cost of living adjustments for higher end users would sayve $225 million a year. Unfortunately Representative Richardson does not believe that meaningful PERS reform will pass this legislative session.

For example, there are two different state departments that are directly involved in public education. The Department of Education and the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission create a series of hoops and barriers for teachers according to Representative Richardson. It is a layer of bureaucracy that keeps dollars out the of the classroom.  Since Salem is always looking for ways to put money in the classroom perhaps the functions of these two departments could be combined.

Parents need to take a greater interest in the education of their children and that will help change the system.  Citizens should run for school board positions and volunteer in the public schools to make sure that they understand how the system works.

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Posted by at 12:57 | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Naminsalem

    Don’t forget the Oregon Education Investment Board is now also involved in education system design and evaluation from PreK-College.

  • Bob Clark

    You know what might help stretch government dollars is to make the prevailing wage for public construction projects such as schools lower than currently. Portland Public schools is planning to borrow against future property taxes nearly half a billion dollars; and yet, this amount may only get but a handful of schools rebuilt. More competition via loosening prevailing wage rates for public school construction would help significantly stretch scarce public school construction monies. Then, too, building codes should be lessened for new public schools (ADA aside) so as allow for investment grade buildings but not so high-end as to again limit the amount of school building construction possible for a given amount of public construction dollars for schools.

    We need to find ways to make the government dollar go further, especially for public education.

  • Kelly

    Education in Oregon was at it’s best when local school boards controlled it.

    The state should have a very limited role in local school control.

  • Oregonnative

    I just read your first sentance and our president said in his speech tonight that we were number 1 in the world of collage graduates. Who’s right…inquisitive minds wish to know

    • Francis Pettygrove

      And McDonalds is #1 in hamburger production. It doesn’t mean the product is quality.

  • JAC

    I’d like to know the Oregon high school graduation rate and test scores before and after teacher unionization….

  • JacklordGod

    I am not really understanding the argument here – Taxpayers are told more money is needed for schools to actually perform their job, so lets look to PERS jockeying to provide that money?

    That’s non nonsensical. First of all, there is zero correlation between increased public school funding and increased performance. There is direct inverse correlation however.

    Second of all, even if you buy the argument that more money will solve the problem wringing the money out of PERS is probably a bigger dry well than passing a sales tax. You simply aren’t going to get it.

    Education begins with educating ourselves that throwing more money at schools has not resulted in increased performance and there is zero reason to think that doing so in the future will have any different result.

    WE consistently spend more per pupil than almost every other country and consistently test abysmally when compared to other industrial nations. Let’s get off this nonsense that lack of funding is the problem.

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