No $$ for summer school; plenty for undocumented immigrants

by William MacKenzie

It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.*

There’s no question that Oregon’s children have suffered from learning losses before and during covid.

The Oregon Capitol Chronicle reported last week that Oregon school districts and community-based organizations such as the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club have received millions in public funding for summer learning programs from the Legislature in the past two years: a record high of $240 million in 2021 and $150 million in 2022.

This year — not a penny in additional funding. The result? Districts across the state have had to cut back their summer offerings.  That has school leaders and concerned parents furious.

At the same time, effective July 1, Oregon expanded free health insurance that mirrors Medicaid to immigrants in the country illegally.

House Bill 3352 (2021) put into law a program called “Cover All People.” The program is now known as “Healthier Oregon.” According to the Oregon Health Authority, thanks to Healthier Oregon, people may now qualify for OHP if they live in Oregon and meet income and other criteria.

The bill passed the State Senate with 17 ayes and 11 nays – Anderson, Boquist, Findley, Girod, Hansell, Kennemer, Knopp, Linthicum, Robinson, Thatcher, Thomsen.

The federal government largely funds Medicaid, paying about two-thirds of the cost, leaving the balance to the state. But the federal government won’t pay anything for coverage of undocumented immigrants, so Oregon taxpayers will pick up the entire tab for them.

“We don’t get any help from the federal government because the folks who are on it don’t have papers,” Rep. Rob Nosse, D-Portland, told the Capital Chronicle.

What a strange, strange world.

*With all due respect to 4 Jacks and a Jill.