Advocacy from hundreds of OSEA members through 2023 convinced lawmakers that fully funding education is a priority for school employees, our state and its future. Lawmakers heard us and raised the state’s K-12 budget from $9.5 billion to a record-breaking $10.2 billion for the 2023-25 biennium. This $700 million increase will make it harder for school districts to claim budget shortfalls during future bargaining sessions. It is an investment in Oregon students and the staff who support them.
The state will offer school districts grants for culturally appropriate literacy curricula. Grants may fund both a program’s curriculum and staffing. Not only did this bill pass, but advocacy from OSEA members prevented grants from being funded with money already budgeted for K-12 programs — because students of all ages deserve quality education.
OSEA advocates for public education at all levels where our members provide the support Oregon students need to succeed, from pre-k through community college. All levels of public education matter, for our members’ jobs, those looking to improve our opportunities for the future and our entire state. OSEA helped secure the most funding ever received by community colleges across the state.
Three out of four Oregon schools will be able to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students, thanks to landmark changes in a federal nutrition program. HB 5014 invests an additional $17 million to help as many as 200 additional schools improve student wellbeing through this program in the 2024-25 school year.
As introduced, HB 3014 would have enabled school districts to use money from the Oregon Transportation Grant Fund (OTGF) to pay for student “alternative transportation,” including transit bus vouchers and group bike rides or walks to and from school. OSEA members pushed back, knowing that this bill had the potential to cut bus driver jobs.
Thanks to our advocacy, the bill was amended to preserve funding for school buses, the safest way to transport students to and from school. It also protects our bargaining units: the final form of this bill requires districts to prove a good faith effort (consistent with our contracts) to recruit, hire, train and pay existing bus driver positions before the district can apply for reimbursement for alternative transportation. The final bill also requires all new alternate transportation positions be directly employed by the school district to safeguard from contracting-out by limiting the use of school district funds.