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Oregon school board reps press education issues in Washington, D.C.

Kris Howatt, president of the Oregon School Boards Association, led a delegation of OSBA’s board of directors to the nation’s capital this week to urge congressional action on important education issues.

The board members met on Tuesday with the state’s congressional delegation to stress the importance of Oregon’s proposed waiver of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which would allow Oregon schools to replace the overly restrictive one-size-fits-all federal requirements with more effective ways to assess student achievement. They also urged action to prevent damage to rural schools if Congress lets federal funding of the Secure Rural Schools Act run out on June 30.

The OSBA delegation pointed out the devastating impact that loss of SRS funding would inflict on many rural school districts in Oregon—districts that have already suffered severe budget reductions.

The OSBA board members emphasized to Oregon’s senators and representatives that if Secure Rural Schools funding expires on schedule, the state’s counties stand to lose $250 million in income paid by the federal government to compensate for vast tracts of federal land that generate no property taxes. An end to SRS funding would mean the loss of about 4,000 jobs in Oregon and $400 million in business sales, according to a recent study by economists at Oregon State University.

Howatt was accompanied by OSBA board members David Beeson (past-president of OSBA), Dave Krumbein (secretary-treasurer), Karen Cunningham, Laurie Adams and Sam Lee.