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Revenue Roller Coaster


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It’s been 27 years since Oregon voters approved Ballot Measure 5, the measure that limits property taxes that pay for public education in this state.  School district officials have faced tough decisions since voters were told that cutting property taxes would not hurt public education.  Oregon schools and community colleges have already faced hundreds of millions of dollars in painful cuts. Districts across the state have been forced to cut school days, lay off educators, increase class size, and eliminate valuable programs such as music, art and P.E. Community colleges have had to eliminate vital programs and raise student tuition.

North Clackamas is looking at a $10 million cut in the upcoming school year. Officials say that equates to eliminating 100 teaching positions or canceling almost four weeks of school.  Decades of funding erosion, due both to declines in corporate tax share and to property tax limitations, have crippled Oregon’s fine public education system by causing class sizes to swell, programs to be dropped, support staffing to be minimized, libraries to close, extra-curricular activities to be limited or fee-based, and students to be left with fewer opportunities and less assistance to reach their potentials.  Against this revenue backdrop have been changes to expectations primarily driven by corporate-based education reform pressures.  Add to this landscape the educational challenges yielded by a greater level of income inequality that causes more of our students to live in poverty.  In other words, schools are expected to do much more with much less for students with far greater needs than our budgets are able to accommodate. 

It’s time to have a serious conversation where Oregon corporations and state lawmakers discuss the education of the next workforce and what it costs to get students college and career ready.  Otherwise, this roller coaster ride that has gone on for nearly 30 years will not stay on the track.

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The Compass - The student news site of North Clackamas School District
Revenue Roller Coaster