Ed jobs bill to give schools more money for staff needs

On Aug. 10, the House passed the $10 billion Edujobs bill guaranteeing Oregon $117million to forestall teacher layoffs. The number of Oregon teachers saved by this federal funding is estimated at approximately 1,600.  The Governor will be invited to apply for these funds from the U.S. Department of Education, and they will be distributed through the State School Funding formula. These funds can be used for compensation and benefits to retain existing educators, hire new educators, or recall educators that have been recently laid off.

“I commend our Oregon congressional delegation for their diligence and determination in working with their colleagues to get this bill passed. Our educators are vital to the revitalization of Oregon’s economy. These jobs are at the core of our communities—teaching our kids, keeping class sizes manageable, providing summer school, preparing students to enter the workforce, and providing the foundation of our economic future. Ensuring quality education for children pays off. We are not going to get out of this recession without good jobs and good jobs need skilled graduates,” said State Superintendent Susan Castillo

“Oregon schools have been forced to make many painful cuts to help fill the state’s budget hole this year and these funds will help reverse some of these difficult decisions. Unfortunately, these funds are less than half of the $243 million cut from the State School fund in June. While this is welcome relief for our school districts, this is not a long-term solution. Most school districts will still be faced with budget reductions for the 2010-11 school year including restricted course offerings, staff reductions, or a shortened school year,” said Castillo.

Eagle Point should receive $824,411.85, Prospect should see $59,082.00 and Butte Falls can expect $50,851.22, according to a release from the Oregon Department of Education.

“I am grateful for the additional assistance from Congress to help states like Oregon as we continue to experience the impacts of the Great Recession,” said Gov. Kulongoski.

“This assistance comes at a critical time where demand for public services is growing while state resources continue to be volatile and uncertain. At the end of this month, we have our next state quarterly revenue forecast – and three additional forecasts before the close of the current 2009-11 biennium.  Given the performance of the national economy during the past few months, we should anticipate further revenue losses until a recovery clearly takes hold,” said the Governor.

“With this additional assistance, we must be smart and prudent. We must strike a balance between addressing the short-term needs of our citizens and planning for the longer-term. And we must make sure we are utilizing these resources in a way that best helps provide stability and certainty for our state and our citizens today and into the future,” said Kulongoski.

“We need to try to help people understand the funding is a bandaid, not a long-term solution,” said District 9 Superintendent Cynda Rickert.

According to the amendment, the Governor will need to apply for these funds within 30 days. Federal funds will be released within 45 days. The funding will flow through the State School Funding Formula. The Oregon Department of Education is estimating districts will see these funds within two months (give or take a few days).

By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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