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House passes education boost

The Oregon House of Representatives today passed the largest-ever budget for the state’s public schools.  The budget is a $1 billion increase over the last biennium, and will allow many school districts across the state to re-hire teachers and stabilize programs after years of cuts, according to a press release from the Office of the House of Representatives.

“The last half decade has seen over 7,000 teacher layoffs and seemingly endless cuts to school days,” says House Speaker Tina Kotek.  “With this budget we’re offering school districts certainty and stability; we’re positioning Oregon schools to turn the corner so we can begin reinvesting in the most critical element of our future prosperity.”

The $6.75 billion budget directly allocates $6.55 billion for the state’s public schools, coupled with $200 million in school district savings to the Public Employee Retirement System enacted in SB 822, which passed earlier this session. 

Rep. Peter Buckley is quoted saying, “When we crafted the state budget, we prioritized schools with a $6.75 billion investment. I’ve been pleased to learn what that means for many school districts across the state, including those I represent, who are adding teachers and programs.  After years of cuts, it’s time to start rebuilding. We still have more to do, but today marks a turning point in Oregon’s recovery.”

The budget passed 53-5 with two excused and now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.