Rep. Whisnant: No excuse for “un-transparent” half-billion fund

gene-whisnantRep. Whisnant: No excuse “un-transparent” half-billion fund
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon Foundation

State Representative Gene Whisnant believes no tax dollar should go unnoticed — especially if it is a half billion education fund that lacks the basic tenants of transparency. A total of $569 million of the school fund gets directed to a special fund for the Children for Low income Families program and for English Language Learners (ELL) also known as English as a Second Language (ESL). Currently, there is no accountability on how the money is spent. Representative Whisnant has authored HB 2967 & HB 2968 which would require school districts to publish an annual report on the details of the funds received, funds spent and require measurable outcomes of the program.

This program has already produced questionable spending. One report shows that $17 million was never given to the school districts. Another $10 million was given the school districts but never spent.English Language Learners receive $3,000 more per student while Children for Low income Families receive $1,500 more per student. Some parents have expressed that they feel like their children are being held back from graduating out of the program which is hindering their full academic potential. It could be that the pressure of losing a student’s $3,000 in extra funding acts as a disincentive to a student’s progress. Without accurate numbers from the school districts, as HB 2967 & HB 2968 would require, the public may never know the level of success or waste that is occurring.

Representative Gene Whisnant believes that if there is millions of taxpayer dollars in these funds that are not being effective then these funds could be better used to could reduce class size. A smaller class size helps impact all of the students in the class not just one. Whsinant states, “How these millions of dollars in these funds are used or misused will determine how it impacts our graduation rates and how successful our students can be.”

More info on HB 2967 & HB 2968: HB 2967 targets English Language Learners (also known as English as a Second Language ESL). Hb 2968 is for Children for Low income Families a special funding fund diverted from common school fund.