As Oregon legislators consider billions of dollars in spending on public schools, budget writers have cut funding levels proposed for several education initiatives.
Back in January, Governor John Kitzhaber and his education chief, Rudy Crew, proposed $150 million for a handful of programs meant to jumpstart school improvements.
The largest new investment was $120 million for a statewide system of instructional centers. Since then, the governor scaled that proposal back to $60 million. Legislators have essentially cut that in half again – to $33 million. That’s below the $40 million spending floor that state officials had wanted to start what’s now being called the Network for Quality Teaching and Learning.
Legislators have also scaled back a set of smaller investments aimed at early reading, career readiness, and science, technology, engineering and math. Those initiatives went from a combined $35 million to $27 million . Summer programs took some of the hardest hits.
Lawmakers say they’re trying to balance direct spending on K-12 education with money for new initiatives.
In related news, the Oregon Senate on Monday voted down a $6.55 billion budget for primary and secondary schools, over concerns tht the budget might not be adequate.