Over the past decade, Oregon schools 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. In fact, we’ve already lost nearly 16% percent of our classroom teachers because of budget cuts. As a result, class size has increased by nearly 20% just in the elementary grades. Increased class sizes mean less individualized attention for children and a shorter school year means less instruction for students – putting them at risk of falling behind.
Every $100 million we invest in our kids is the equivalent of 1,100 teaching jobs or a full week of school for more than 550,000 Oregon students.
K-12 School Funding Facts
State appropriations over last decade:
2011 biennium: $5.725 billion ($3 billion below the state's own QEM adequacy mark)
2009 biennium: $6 billion, reduced to $5.783 billion through allotment cuts
2007 biennium: $6.3 billion, reduced to $6.132 through allotment cuts
2005 biennium: $5.263 billion
2003 biennium: $5.2 billion, reduced to $4.9 billion after BM 30 failed
2001 biennium: $5.2 billion, reduced to $4.75 billion through five special sessions
• Oregon has the third largest class size in the nation
• We are nearly $3 billion short of what the Quality Education Model tells us we need to invest in our schools for every child to be successful and for us to close the learning and opportunity gaps.
• Education's share of the state budget has declined steadily since 2003.
• From 2009-2011, Oregon lost 15.9% of its teachers
• From 2009-2011, Oregon lost 15.5% of its education support professionals
• From 2009-2011, class size in the elementary grades have increased by 19.6%
• From 2009-2011, class size in middle schools have increased by 19.0%
• From 2009-2011, class size in high schools have increased by 28.6%
If we do not do all we can to protect Oregon’s 565,000 students from devastating budget cuts, we will not only impair their futures, but will also contribute to the continuing downturn in the Oregon economy. That’s because a strong investment in public education is Oregon’s best economic stimulus tool. Failure to make decisions with that principle in mind will hurt students, will hurt communities, and will hurt the state as a whole.