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Governor’s Budget Released

 State of Oregon Seal

December 3, 2018 - On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Governor Brown released her proposed budget for the 2019-21 biennium. In it, she outlines a series of sweeping changes in the operation of the state, including the implementation of her vision for education.

Historically, the amount of funding allocated to K-12 education in the Governor’s budget has represented a “floor” upon which the legislature builds during the session. This year’s budget is a bit different in that it calls for the legislature to enact revenue reform that would raise an additional $2 billion for education as a whole (early childhood, K-12, and higher education).

The current recommended allocation to K-12 without the revenue reform is $8.972 billion, which, if passed, would leave the Hillsboro School District approximately $11 million short for the biennium. To maintain current service level (CSL), which would mean doing the same things over the next two years that we are doing today, we would need a state-level K-12 allocation of $9.3 billion.

If the revenue reforms do come to fruition exactly as envisioned by Brown, slightly less than half of the new funds ($866.6 million) would be targeted at K-12 education initiatives:

  • $793 million to the School Improvement Fund to provide funding for a “full” school year (typically assumed to be 180 days) and the reduction of class sizes at grades K-3;
  • $45.6 million for early intervention/early childhood special education;
  • $16 million in scholarships for the Educator Pathway program;
  • $6 million to implement the Safe and Effective Schools task force recommendations; and
  • $6 million for a Black Student Success and Alaska/Native American student plan.

These funds would be extremely helpful and would represent approximately $28 million in additional money for the Hillsboro School District: $11 million of that would be needed to address the shortfall we would experience at the $8.972 funding level, leaving approximately $17 million for strategies to increase student success, such as adding school days (HSD currently offers 174 days/year for elementary students and 175 days/year for secondary students; adding five school days to each calendar would cost approximately $8.3 million) and lowering class sizes (it costs approximately $171,500 per grade level to lower class size by one).

In every biennium since 1999, Oregon’s Quality Education Commission has developed a Quality Education Model (QEM) to estimate the level of funding that would be required to operate a system of highly-effective K-12 schools in the state. According to the Commission’s most recent report, K-12 education would need an allocation of $10.77 billion to meet QEM. If that were an unrestricted allocation to the State School Fund, HSD would receive approximately $49 million in funds to invest in lowering class sizes; increasing instructional time; expanding interventions for struggling learners; adding programming for Talented and Gifted students; and enhancing support of career related learning, activities, arts, athletics and more.

We will continue to advocate for stable and adequate funding for K-12 education throughout the 2019 Legislative session and will keep you informed as things develop along the way.