Governor Kulongoski With Kids From Stevens Middle School in Salem

Providing a First-Rate Public Education for All Oregonians: The Education Enterprise

The Education Enterprise will provide adequate and stable funding for all parts of the public education system. It will also deliver significant changes in the way Oregon manages and funds education—from pre-school, K-12, community colleges, universities, to job-skills training. It will put Oregon back on the road to investing in the greatest assets we have—ourselves and our children. It will put an end to cutting school budgets and increasing class sizes, and bring post-secondary back within reach of low-income and middle-class Oregonians. The Education Enterprise will make up lost ground in school funding, moving Oregon from 5.0 percent below the national average to 10 percent above the national average over the next four years. During the next three budget periods, we will raise our grade under the bipartisan Quality Education Model from a C(74 percent) to an A, with 91 percent of recommended funding.

I. Creating Stable Funding for Better Schools

The Education Enterprise will—for the first time—establish stable, adequate and predictable funding for Oregon’s public schools. It will employ a formula that guarantees a minimum level of funding, investment in an education rainy day fund, and creation of an innovation fund for additional, targeted investments above the guaranteed base-funding. By 2009-11, under the Education Enterprise, per-student K-12 funding will increase by more than $900 per student, and put Oregon back on par with the national average of per-student investment.

II. Providing Equal Opportunity for All Children

The Education Enterprise will enable all eligible three- and four-year-olds to attend Head Start, which is the first step in helping every child achieve academic success.

III. Improving Learning through Smaller Classes and a Full School Year

Passage of the Education Enterprise would enable all K-12 school districts in the state to restore optimal classroom sizes as recommended by the Quality Education Model and reinstate lost programs and school days by 2009.

IV. Recruiting and Supporting Quality Teachers

The Education Enterprise restores the Oregon Mentor Teacher program, which has not received funding for more than 10 years. This program provides a mentor for new teachers with during their first critical three years on the job, improving teacher quality and teacher retention. The Education Enterprise will also provide support for quality professional development for all educators, helping them better meet the growing needs of all students.

V. Restoring Full Curriculums in Our High Schools

The Education Enterprise will enable Oregon to restore the value of the high school diploma - reinstate lost programs like music, art, physical education and technical training – so every student graduates high school with the tools to learn a skill, go to college or enter the workforce.

VI. Opening the Door to Higher Education

The Education Enterprise will restructure the Oregon Opportunity Grant and phase in full funding for a shared responsibility model over the next two budget periods, increasing the current investment of $78 million to $152 million, so that when this year’s 8th graders graduate high school, every student who wants to go to college will have access to the resources to do so.

VII. Helping Oregonians Continue & Complete Education after High School

The Governor’s Education Enterprise calls for the next step of reinvesting in the base budgets of Oregon’s universities to ensure they have the professors, classrooms and labs they need to educate more students and the quality to remain top-notch institutions of higher learning. The Enterprise would also adopt new systems for delivering classes, with greater use of such resources as “distance learning” and duel-enrollment programs that enable students to take classes both at university and a community college.

VIII. Expanding the Capacity of Our Community Colleges

The Education Enterprise recognizes and supports the diverse missions of our community colleges, and will enable then to expand their programs, as well as their physical capacity, to meet the growing needs of Oregon’s workforce, students, businesses, communities and industries.

IX. Showing Taxpayers What Their Investments Will Produce

The Education Enterprise combines the health plans of Oregon’s 198 school districts to reduce health care costs. It also calls for strengthening performance audits of school districts by giving this function to the Oregon Department of Education, and requires an annual report by local school boards to the public that details the district’s budget and its correlation to student performance.

X. Goals and Performance Measures Deliver Accountability

The Governor has structured the Education Enterprise around a set of clear goals and performance indicators to direct future investments. It will provide schools, colleges and universities with clear targets and expectations. Over the next six years, the Governor’s Education Enterprise will track improved skill development, workforce and college readiness for Oregon’s young and adult students to ensure the wise and efficient investment of tax dollars.

To learn more about the plan, click here.