Despite objections, Senate passes $7.255B education budget

Gov. Kate Brown expected to sign bill even though both parties agree it falls short of what’s needed.

Share this article!


The Oregon Senate passed a $7.255 billion K-12 education budget Monday after five hours of debate.

At one point, Senate Republicans stormed off the floor because Democrats suggested their alternative would mandate cuts in public safety spending, reports.

Democrats, who passed their bill in a party-line vote, said the proposal is the best possible option given the current funding landscape. It will at least give school districts certainty in planning for the next academic year, they said. But neither party was pleased with the result. For many, it came down to supporting a plan that would do the least harm.

“I know we have to do better,” said Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland. “But this budget is responsible, it’s realistic and it’s what we have to do.” 

Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign the bill when it reaches her this week.

From the Associated Press:

The two-year budget for K-12 schools is an increase of 9 percent over current funding levels, but school districts say it’s not enough for them to keep up with rising costs, including those associated with the introduction of full-day kindergarten.

Education interests say they’d need at least $7.5 billion for most school districts to avoid raising class sizes, shortening school years or cutting extracurricular programs.

Republicans offered an alternative plan that revolved around the three following changes, Statesman Journal’s Hannah Hoffman reports.

1.) Freeze state employee salaries, saving $129.7 million

2.) Boost logging on state forests, bringing in $80 million per biennium for schools

3.) End property tax subsidies in Washington County, saving $95 million