CONTACT: Nick Smith

June 21, 2011





SALEM— House Republicans today supported a bipartisan package of education reforms, including measures they say will provide Oregon students expanded educational opportunities that meet their unique learning needs.  Republicans also supported directing more funding to education using existing resources.


“The Legislature is on track to have its most successful session on education reform in decades,” said House Education Committee Co-Chair Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville).  “Together, these reforms help promote choice, accountability and innovation in our educational system. I’m particularly pleased with the progress we’ve made in expanding choice for parents and their children.” 


Republican priorities in the education package include HB 3682 that allow parents and students to enroll in the school district of their choice.  Charter-related bills include HB 2301 to raise the current enrollment caps on statewide virtual charter schools and replacing them with a limit of no more than three percent of students from any single district. 


In addition, the House passed HB 3645 allowing a charter school applicant to seek sponsorship from the Board of Education, a local community college, or a public university that chooses to participate, if the applicant was initially rejected by a school district.  For example, Oregon Health and Science University could partner with other institutions to establish a charter school that offers real-world health and science coursework to students for future careers.


Republicans supported other elements of the package, including putting more dollars in the State School Fund and reforming Oregon’s Education Service Districts.  Other reforms include establishing the Oregon Education Investment Board to oversee outcome based budgets for all levels of public education. 


“I thank the Governor and legislative Democrats for their bipartisanship in helping move this package forward,” said Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) a school board member and House Higher Education Subcommittee Co-Chair. “I am hopeful the progress we’ve made on this package will lead to additional reforms in future sessions that help our school districts retain teachers, support kids and avoid harmful budget cuts.”