Governor Kitzhaber has made education a priority. Last year, the legislature passed a bill making the governor the state superintendent of schools. It was a leadership role he was happy to take on, with the help of Oregon’s first chief education officer, Rudy Crew.
Kitzhaber’s 2013-2015 budget proposal includes increased funding for several education initiatives. He’s advocating for a bill that he says would streamline education bureaucracy by consolidating several government organizations under one Department of Post-Secondary Education. He’s also set an ambitious goal of a 100 percent graduation rate for the class of 2025.
The budget proposals released by both Democratic and Republican legislators last week are also heavily focused on money for schools. But, of course, that money has to come from somewhere. Kitzhaber says the changes to the Oregon Health Plan will free up some state and federal money. He is also urging lawmakers to consider changes to mandatory sentencing laws to reduce the state’s prison budget.
Kitzhaber is encouraging the continuing conversation about how to reform the public employee retirement system (PERS). Though they have a common goal, lawmakers differ with the governor on how to change PERS.
How would the govornor’s proposed changes to education, prisons or PERS affect you? What would you like to ask Governor Kitzhaber?