Governor John Kitzhaber told a gathering of the state’s school board members today he intends to free up money for education in the budget he’ll introduce next month. He says he’ll do that by making structural changes to several areas, including the state’s pension system.
Kitzhaber spoke at the Oregon School Boards Association Meeting. He says if the state public pension systems don’t change, Oregon’s per-student costs will increase one thousand dollars in the next biennium.
Kitzhaber says that spending adds nothing to the quality of education.
“We will not see lower class sizes, we will not add days to the school year, we will not be able to buy back programs like art and vocational studies.”
Kitzhaber says reforming PERs will be a focus of the budget he presents to legislators in December. He promised the budget plan would be a radical departure, mixing reforms in pension and health care with investments in best practices.
He also affirmed he’s working on building business and labor support for a major revamp of state taxes, with an eye to education funding.