First term State Representative from Bend wants to expand education opportunities for students and fund schools first
By Rep. Cheri Helt —
Representative Cheri Helt, of Bend, today introduced a bipartisan package of education bills with the goal of improving outcomes for students. Helt, a longtime member of the Bend-La Pine School Board has made education policy a priority early in her first term in Salem.
“I campaigned on a promise to go to the Capitol and fight for policies that will make a positive difference in the lives of our students,” Rep. Helt said. “While there is plenty of additional work left to do, I’m proud to already be making progress on that promise and to have the opportunity to carry this bipartisan education package forward. We have to make our kids a priority.”
HB 2905 fully funds the voter-approved Measure 98 program, which seeks to expand career and technical education opportunities for students as well as improve Oregon’s high school graduation rate. A recent Oregon Department of Education report showed students who participated in career-technical courses graduated at a rate of 88%, significantly higher than the general student populations.
Helt is also sponsoring HB 2906 to extend the sunset on Oregon’s open enrollment law, which allows students to attend aschool district of their choosing outside their home district, under circumstances. Finally, Helt is a chief sponsor of HJR 19, a constitutional amendment to require lawmakers to fund education first in the state budget. If passed, the amendment would be referred to Oregon voters at the next general election for final approval.
“I came here to serve our students and parents,” concluded Helt. “If the Legislature is really as committed to our schools as we claim we are, we should take action on these bills as soon as possible. These bills have bipartisan support. They are proven public policy. And they will undoubtedly lead to positive change in our schools. Let’s get this done.”
All three bills are currently awaiting their first readings in the House Chamber.
Cheri Helt (R-Bend) is a first term Oregon State Representative.