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Education

SOUTH COAST — Governor Kate Brown recommended lowering the budget for community colleges and holding the line for kindergarten through 12th grade education.

In a press release from the Oregon Education Association last week, Brown’s recommendations are for the state budget and investment plans for the 2019 to 2021 biennium.

“The Governor has recommended stable funding to retain current services in K-12 education, with a base budget of $8.972 billion,” the release said. “Brown’s proposed community college base budget is $543 million, which represents a 4.7 percent cut. Brown has recommended $2 billion additional investment in education, which would result in significant budget increases in pre-K through higher education budgets.”

In the release, English teacher from Hermiston and president of the Oregon Education Association John Larson said they are glad to see Brown’s proposals because it means “our students won’t face cuts to existing services or larger class sizes.”

However, he also said it wasn’t enough.

“Simply holding the line will not give our students what they need to be successful,” Larson said in the release.

OEA pointed out that these budgets “lay the groundwork for conversations about increasing school funding in the upcoming legislative session,” the release said, adding that “Voters resoundingly elected these officials (in November) on a tide of campaigns focused on increasing school funding, demonstrating clear public support and urgency for improving Oregon’s public education system.”

In the release, Larson recognized that Oregon has one of the shortest school years in the national, one of the largest average class sizes, and “graduation rates that must be improved due to decades of threadbare budgets and cuts.”

“Obviously the status quo defined by these base budgets is unacceptable, as the Governor has made clear with her proposed investment package,” he said. “Educators will continue to advocate for our students in the legislature and in our communities around the state to ensure funding is finally increased this year. These recommendations are a meaningful start.”

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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