Sara Gelser’s 9 year political career: a steady decline in education spending


Oregon Senate Republicans

Betsy Close fought for $150 million increase to Gelser’s school budget

Albany, OR – As a percentage of overall state discretionary spending, classroom spending has declined by almost 3% under Sara Gelser’s (D-Corvallis) watch as State Representative and House Education Committee Chair. In 2013, Senator Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) aggressively pushed for an education budget that was $150 million more than what was adopted by Sara Gelser and the Democrat Majority.

“As a mom, an educator, and a legislator, my actions are clear: I will work to provide our schools, teachers and kids with the resources they need to succeed,” said Close. “My opponent’s actions are a world apart from her rhetoric, and show that there is always another government program or pet project she would rather fund than local classrooms.”

As a percentage of state discretionary spending (General Fund and Lottery Fund), the amount of tax revenue spent on K-12 education has declined from 42.6% in 2005 to 39.7% today. Last session, Close proposed that the legislature spend an additional $150 million on classrooms. Democrats rejected the proposal, and Gelser voted for the smaller budget.

Starting in 1999, Close served for six years as a State Representative in the Oregon House of Representatives. She was Chairwoman of the House Water & Environment Committee and House Business, Labor, and Consumer Affairs; and Co-Chair of the Joint Natural Resources Committee. She served in leadership as Assistant Majority Leader from 2001 to 2005. She was appointed to the Oregon State Senate in 2012.

  • Sally

    This is ridiculous. The children are our future. How can we possibly educate them for as little as 12K a year and some change. Teachers are underpaid, buildings are not safe, books are old and crusty, school starts too early, free lunches are no good, etc.

    It is simple. More money will solve these problems, not less money.

    These politicians make me sick.

    • No cake on privates plate

      Is your PERS as loaded as theirs? If so, you likely have plenty of COLA and drink it too, Misdeeds over-benefitted Governmentium!

    • CherryAnn1000

      You’re joking, right? Every year it’s the same lament–give us more money, give us more money, and we’ll produce better results. And every year we hear the same old thing–lower and lower test scores, with many, if not most, kids failing at math, language, writing, and spelling. So how is giving more money to these people working out for you? I deeply resent every penny we have to shell out for govt schools when we don’t use them now and we homeschooled. And being underpaid? You surely jest. Every year teachers get a pay raise, and they make far, on average, than the average Joe, great bennies. School. starting too early? Well, maybe it wouldn’t have to if the kids actually went to classes for seven or eight hours and got out later in the day. You are obviously a product of said schools, maybe even a teacher yourself, and I find your lack of discernment quite sad.

    • marvinmcconoughey

      Let’s think about the spending for a moment. Given complaints of 35 children per classroom (sometimes even more), and $12,000 per year, that comes to $420,000 per classroom per year. Doesn’t sound too austere, does it? Of course none of these publicized numbers are very 1) accurate or 2) relevant.

      Somewhat more enlightening data that does partially reflect the complexity of education spending is available at the Oregon Department of Education. The US Department of Education also has reams of data on national and state education spending.

      The issue of teacher pay adequacy is fraught with controversy, but the claims of looming mass resignations and teacher shortages common a few years back proved to be largely illusionary. There are some shortages in the STEM fields which could be alleviated by better matching of teacher compensation distribution to the scarcity of qualified STEM teachers.

  • Myke

    “As a percentage of state discretionary spending” is a misleading statistic. A better stat would be in overall dollars per child spent. In that regard we could better see the effect of dollars spent vs. Effect on schools. This is a shameless campaign ad.

  • CherryAnn1000

    Considering the millions in increased education spending each year, with progressively more abysmal results, what’s the point? Public education (aka govt education) has been presenting itself, hat in hand, every year, assuring us they will produce a better product if we’ll just hand over more money. This has now been going on for decades, and unlike when I was in school, the product produced is poor at best. My advice to all of you with kids in govt schools, yank them out, make some sacrifices, and homeschool. I guarantee you will get a fabulous end result, and let’s put an end to this mockery of education.

  • marvinmcconoughey

    “(A) percentage of overall state discretionary spending” is hardly a logical way to assess spending adequacy on individual programs. State spending trends toward greater complexity and burdens as time passes with the consequence that the budget pie must be sliced into more and more slices. Moreover, education obtains financing from multiple sources, which makes judging adequacy of state discretionary spending even more complex.