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Education

COOS COUNTY – A group of bipartisan legislators from the state are in Coos County for two days to visit local schools.

The 79th Legislative Assembly Joint Committee on Student Success has a detailed schedule spanning Wednesday and Thursday. The committee has already traveled 2,678 miles from Salem to visit schools across the state, finishing a tour on the southern Oregon coast that began in March.

And all to better provide funding for schools and improve public education.

According to Robin Maxey, communications director in the office of Senate President Peter Courtney, the JCSS has taken testimony from 273 Oregonians at nine public hearings so far on the tour. It has done 11 student listening sessions with a total of 318 students from 52 schools, held 12 regional round table discussions with 220 educators and community leaders from 52 school districts, eight Education Service Districts and 14 pre-k and early learning programs.

Maxey added that since March, the JCSS has also held round table meetings on school safety, health services, and partnerships between high schools and post-secondary institutions.

“We need to educate Oregon’s children the best we possibly can,” said Senate President Peter Courtney when the tour was first announced in January, which Maxey emailed to The World. “We need to understand what’s working and what’s not working. We need to figure out how to fill the hole caused by Measures 5 and 50. We need to connect state priorities and funding to local spending.”

Maxey explained that it was Courtney and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek who created the special committee that made the plan for improved student success. Courtney and Kotek included a “budget proposal that ensures every student in Oregon, regardless of where they go to school, will have the opportunity to achieve success. To gather information, the committee began touring the state in March.”

The idea behind the committee is patterned after the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization that toured the state back in 2016. As Maxey stated, because of that tour, that committee then created “the historic $5.3 billion transportation improvement plan during the 2017 session.”

At 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the JCSS is holding a public hearing at Marshfield High School where the community can tell the committee how local schools can be strengthened.

“It’s time we come out of our corners and solve this problem together,” Kotek said after the tour’s initial announcement. “Every student deserves a fair shot at success. It’s time to come together and forge a path forward that will ensure every child has access to the high-quality schools they deserve.”

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.

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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