The 2013 legislative session started on Monday, February 4, and thanks to the efforts of our members, education is the hot topic. Below is a snapshot of what we’ll be working on during the six-month session. This was developed in coordination with Stand - Oregon's State Strategy Team.
Stand Championed Initiatives
Parents on Achievement Compact Advisory Committees: Advisory committees are charged with developing recommendations for the district’s outcomes, measures of progress, goals and targets for achievement compacts, and plans for achieving them. Parents (or community members) are prohibited from serving as voting members of these committees. Stand will work to include parents on these committees.
Including “Competency” in the district lay-off process: State statute requires districts to consider a teacher’s certification and seniority when forced to make lay-offs. Stand will work to amend the statute to require districts to consider a teacher’s competency when making reductions in force.
Poverty Weighting in the State School Fund (SSF): The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) needs flexibility to calculate poverty. Current law requires ODE to use poverty data from the U.S. Census. However, thanks to changes to the 2010 Census, ODE is forced to use data from the 2000 Census. Stand will work to update the statute to ensure all students in poverty are reflected in the SSF
Stand Working with Coalition Partners
Stand will work to maximize the K-12 Budget for the 2013/2015 Biennium. To do so, Governor Kitzhaber proposes to:
- Reform PERS by limiting the 2 percent annual cost of living increase (or COLA) to the first $24,000 for each retiree and end reimbursing out-of-state PERS recipients for Oregon income taxes they do not pay. Doing so will save districts $253 million over the biennium.
- Reform Education Service District (ESD) spending by using up to $120 million of ESD funding to develop a representative corps of professional educators.
- Fund an Innovation Package by budgeting an additional $35 million for OregonReads; Guidance and Support for Post-Secondary Aspirations; and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics programs.
Tuition Equity (TE): TE would allow Oregon students who qualify academically for an Oregon university, but who are not documented citizens, to pay in-state tuition at Oregon University System colleges and universities. Stand will work with coalition partners to pass the TE bill.
Disparate Discipline: Youth, Rights, and Justice is working on a bill to amend the school discipline statutes to require schools to develop age-appropriate policies; shift the focus away from expulsions and suspensions (making them a last resort); and give districts latitude to make decisions on what form of discipline students receive. Stand will work with the Oregon Alliance for Educational Equity to pass this legislation.
Property Tax Reform: The League of Oregon Cities (LOC) is advocating for two proposals that would refer constitutional changes to Oregon’s property tax system: resetting a home’s assessed value at the sale of the property and exempting local option levies from the Measure 5 property tax caps. Both changes would allow cities and schools districts to collect more in property taxes. Stand will work with the LOC and other coalition partners to pass these changes.
Stand to Monitor and Inform Its Members
Increase funding to the Oregon Mentor Program: The Oregon Mentor Program has been funded at $5 million a biennium since 2007 and provides mentors for nearly 500 new teachers and principals a year. Stand will work with the Chalkboard Project to remove a mandatory Consumer Price Index increase language.
K-12 Governance Structure: Governor Kitzhaber is proposing sweeping changes to the governance structure for pre-Kindergarten to college. Stand will track this work and inform our members at critical junctures.
Professional Development Network & Clearinghouse: The Clearinghouse will ensure a delivery system for quality, locally delivered professional development that is research-based, focused on student achievement and meets state standards. Stand will track this work and inform our members at critical junctures.