Oregon Dems play politics with K-12 funding


Oregon House Republican Office

House Democrats Pass Inadequate Funding Bill That Shortchanges Oregon Students, Teachers and Schools – House Republicans Called for Increased, Stable Funding for K-12 Education

Salem, OR – On a party-line vote, and despite concerns from dozens of school districts across the state, House Democrats voted Tuesday to shortchange Oregon’s schools at a budget of $7.255 billion. Moments after their own admissions that the proposed budget was inadequate and “not satisfying,” House Democrats passed House Bill 5017, dismissing House Republicans’ request to send the budget back to the Committee on Ways and Means to secure more funding for K-12 education.

“House Democrats chose to put politics ahead of kids by voting for an underfunded education budget, despite an additional $1.8 billion in revenue in the General Fund this biennium,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte). “Rather than responsibly prioritize the needs of students and teachers, House Democrats purposefully shortchanged schools so they could move forward later with their predictable demand for increased taxes and keeping the kicker.”

Despite increases in revenue over the past decade, education spending has been steadily declining as part of the overall General Fund.

In the 2003-2005 budget, education funding represented 58.7% of nearly $11 billion, and K-12 education represented 44.7% of the budget. 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 Democrats’ proposed 2015-2017 budget – which represents a 10.5% overall budget increase of nearly $1.8 billion more in revenue than last biennium, K-12 education funding drops even further to 39.1%.

As House Republicans discussed on the Floor Tuesday, this inadequate K-12 education budget leaves school districts across the state – both large and small – with serious consequences, including overcrowded class sizes of 40+ students; layoffs of teachers; outdated curricula, textbooks and other materials; and, dilapidated facilities and resources.