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Education

SALEM — After the vote was put off for almost a week by Oregon Senate Republicans, House Bill 2019, better known as the Student Success Act, was approved Monday.

In a statement from the Oregon Education Association shortly after the bill passed, it began by exclaiming that Oregon educators are now celebrating.

“After decades of holding our schools together at the seams, our state has never been closer to finally being able to afford to give Oregon students the schools they deserve,” the release said. “The next step is the governor’s signature. The bill passes just ahead of school districts’ final budget decisions for the coming year, easing budgetary pressure.”

“Less than a week ago, tens of thousands of educators, students, parents, and supporters gathered in one voice in nearly 100 communities across the state to call on lawmakers to prioritize Oregon students,” says John Larson, high school English teacher and president of the Oregon Education Association in the release. “Together, we are making history. Educators and public school families can start to breathe a sigh of relief tonight, knowing that instead of worrying about budget cuts, we can instead focus on the educational needs of our students and our future.”

Larson went on to point out that the bill will now provide an additional $2 billion to the state’s education fund, which will be shared between every school across Oregon. This means that schools will now have the chance to “invest in students for the first time in decades,” have more individual attention, smaller class sizes, and restore programs that include art, music and physical education.

“We’ll be able to provide the mental and behavioral health supports our students so desperately need,” Larson said in the release.

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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