PORTLAND, OR -- As the State Legislature moves into the home stretch, lawmakers are running out of time to find more money to fund public schools.
Hanna Vaandering, President of the Oregon Education Association, tells KBND the just over $7 billion approved for K-12 schools is still not enough to help increase the state's troubling graduation rates. "The next biennium of funding is close to no-cut, but it does not add in those things that really make a difference in the lives of our students, which is making sure they have access to art, P.E., music, career and technical opportunities, having libraries open with trained librarians. Those things that really inspire learning and really get them ready to be successful."
She hopes to start a conversation this fall, to find what she calls real economic solutions to education funding. "I think we need to continue to look for any and all opportunities to make sure we have the funding for our public education, higher education system and other vital services in Oregon. As we move into the next biennium, we'd ask our legislators to look carefully at the tax loopholes and opportunities that we have to make sure all Oregonians and all corporations are paying their fair share, so that our students and seniors have those programs and services that help them."