Rep. John Davis on K-12 Funding: What Is Our True Commitment?

John Davis_2015_thb

Oregon House Republican Office

Representative John Davis Thursday joined other House Republicans in asking their colleagues to reconsider the proposed $7.235 billion K-12 budget for the 2015-2017 biennium, drawing attention to the 7% proportional decrease in education spending compared to the 2003-2005 budget as a share of the General Fund/Lottery Fund state budget.

In the 2003-2005 budget, education funding represented 58.7% of a budget of nearly $11 billion, and K-12 education represented 44.7%. In the 2013-2015 budget, education funding represented just 51.6% of a $16.753 billion general fund budget, and K-12 only 39.7% of the budget. And in the Democrats’ proposed 2015-2017 budget – which represents a 10.5% overall budget increase of nearly $1.8 billion more in revenue than last biennium – education funding still stands below 52% of the total state General Fund/Lottery Fund budget, with K-12 funding lagging at 39.1%.

During today’s House Floor session, Assistant House Republican Leader John Davis (R-Wilsonville) used this floor letter with information from the Legislative Fiscal Office to highlight what appears to be a decreasing commitment to education over the past decade.

floor letter

floor letter

In response to the reality of an additional $1.8 billion in Revenue, Budget Co-Chair Rep. Peter Buckley called for even more taxes, encouraging the House to “boldly raise revenue.” Rep. Davis pointed to the meager 0.3% increase in education spending as part of the overall budget despite nearly $1.8 billion in additional revenue.

Throughout the week, House Republicans have been advocating for a stronger commitment to education spending and will continue to push for a budget that adequately funds schools and provides a quality education for Oregon students.

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Posted by at 06:48 | Posted in Education, OR 78th Legislative Session, Oregon House, State Budget | 18 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    No additional budget without k-12 reform, namely, expanded school choice. School choice brings competition and will help reduce future education costs.

    All the GOP does with this plea is to feed the Public School system monopoly, with additional funds gobbled up in expanded PERS and health benefits and fatter than otherwise cost of living adjustments.

    • senior native citizen

      GOP or DNP or both? NayBob, there’s sumthing’ about your post that airs of red herring inner carpalbolonia.

  • GObill sizemore

    I have seen this dog and pony show many times. Democrats, the party captive to the teachers unions, proposes a budget increase for schools. Republicans, anxious to prove they are really the education party, propose an even heftier hike. What follows is a politically motivated bidding war to show who cares most about kids, Republicans or Democrats.
    If this was really about kids and education, the new money would be part of a package of much needed school reform measures, none of which would have a chance of passing. Democrats are running the show and they owe their victories to public employee unions. And everyone knows that the OEA would oppose any reform that would bring real accountability to the system.
    I suggest that all of this posturing is really about what everyone can say in next election’s campaign ads about their commitment to education. And as you might imagine, the teachers unions literally revel in these little bidding wars. It is a fact that well over 80 percent of school funding goes to employee costs and those are the wages that feed the teachers union political machine.
    And let’s not forget that PERS is soaking up such an inordinate amount of the funds schools get that any benefit to the kids from the extra money the state tosses in will be minimal.
    There are ways to fix these problems and bring accountability to the public education system. And there are ways to rein in PERS that will save taxpayers and school billions, ways that will pass court scrutiny. But real fixes take political courage. Demanding more money for schools when you know you don’t have the votes to make that happen is not courage; it is political posturing and sends a message to the voters that the problems with public education can be fixed with more money – and that’s simply not true..

    • Jonathan

      In reality school funding in Oregon has been under great pressure, and if true, these figures and charts help explain why.

      Say what you will about PERS, public safety and human services get PERS just as much as school personnel. Shifting money from education does nothing to change PERS.

    • guest

      Bravo!. Include an up post to Bill Sizemore’s appraisal.

    • Out, out Dem Dons now

      Up vote: Buenos dialysis, Bill Sizemore’s post upon the DEM organized legation hanging our state of common sense out to decry, albeit already submersed in Oregonized crime! Argh!

  • Jonathan

    Very telling if true. There has been a big shift of funding from education to public safety and human services. Kind of surprising to see this from the Democrats, at least the shift to public safety. It would help explain how Oregon school funding has gone from significantly above to below the national average, with attendant great strains on the schools.

    It seems like a good issue for the Republicans. The usual “conservatives” who hate everything having to do with public schools of course will bellow even against the Republicans.

    • Omen

      Blue ‘coup’ Oregon liberals ‘style’ under water cannot fathom your rationing of commoner sense. Why or wine izzat? Seig Heil bestows!

  • GObill sizemore

    Jonathan, most conservatives including yours truly are not against adequate funding for schools. But your comments seem to be predicated on the assumption that factors such as the percentage of the budget that goes to education are somehow a logical determinant of how much should be spent on education. Public education cannot be given enough money, no matter how much we spend or what percentage of the budget we allocate to schools.
    I recall a debate I had with former Portland Schools superintendent Jack Birthwirth at the MAC Club in Portland. I asked him point blank in front of a packed house how much we should spend per year to educate a child. Give us a number so we will know when we are fulfilling our responsibility. He wouldn’t give us a number or even an estimate, yet he had just finished saying we weren’t spending enough.
    Schools are not about education and kids anymore. They are about teachers unions and politics and money. Kids are just a pawn in the game. There is no amount that will be enough because the powers that be want as much as they can get.

    • HBguy

      You can be mad all you want About public employee union power, PERS, and Democratic hypocrisy. But until the Dems are out of power, your choices are to pony up enough money given the union demands or failing to give our kids the education that will prepare them to succeed.
      Independents and centrists are POd at the Dems for their prioritizing public employees over public services, and at the GOPrs for refusing to ignore the far right conservatives who demand their candidates take positions we can’t support.
      So, the choices are to reluctantly support the Dems so that our public services at least limp along, or hand the keys of State to tea party social conservative dominated candidates.
      Thanks a lot.

      • Estate of Jefferson

        Halloo, NOT, foreign thy inane lame left kneed,
        Indeed, divide the left coast in half and cedes for the future a better manifest destination.

        • HBguy

          Let’s see…..the GOP can either moderate their positions and stifle the far right elements in their party, or they can try to get a majority of Oregonians to agree to divide the State, and get the Feds and a majority of all other States to go along with that.
          You know, given the current leadership of the oregon GOP, moderating the GOP May be the bigger lift.
          Seriously though, the fact that the Far right GOP believes that giving them their own state is even the remotest of possibilities informs us that the GOP needs to decide between moderate voters, and it’s far right base.
          Because it can’t have both.

        • tiredofyourstupidity

          You need to move to Texas or Mississippi like now!

    • Jonathan

      My comments are predicated on the fact that I can see that the schools are under great budget strain. Many signs not least the complaints of friends who are parents (and grandparents) of students in the local public schools. (Eugene). When I see how the budget priorities have shifted, as in these fine graphs and charts, it makes a lot more sense of what has happened in the schools.

      Do I think the budget priorities should have shifted from schools to public safety and human services? No, I really don’t.

      Do I think there is a limit on how much should be spent on schools. Sure. I think restoring the schools to their old fraction of the budget would take care of most funding inadequacies.

      This is a good issue for Republicans. It might even get this ex-Republican thinking about voting for them again.

  • Greta N

    Bring on the tax increases.

  • Sally

    Dems are only in favor of choice when it comes to killing an unborn child or which bathroom to use.

    • Eric Blair

      Republicans are only in favor of liberty and choice for conservative Christians in enforcing their views on everyone else.

      • Myke

        As opposed to liberals and the Gay community enforcing their views on everyone else…through the barrel of a gun. Now THAT sounds like tyranny.

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