Schools Fund Drained by COVID

Oregon schools were planning on a long-overdue $472 million boost thanks to the Student Success Act which was passed in 2019. But a report from KGW says just $150 million is available to spread around because of a revenue shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Student Success Act was meant to put $2 billion into Oregon schools every two years to help with class sizes and student support. It is funded by a .57 percent corporate tax on Oregon businesses earning more than a $1 million a year. School districts were expecting $472 million in a K-12 Student Investment Account as part of the funding package. 

The coronavirus pandemic hit the Student Success Act hard. As businesses closed down or lost customers to an economic shutdown, tax revenue plummeted, leaving just $150 million for the account.  

Portland Democratic State Sen. Barbara Smith-Warner was a key proponent of the legislation. She told KGW the historic funding package had educators eager about utilizing the new resources. 

KGW reported that Director of the Oregon Department of Education Colt Gill called the reduction in funding a temporary setback and said the agency will continue with many parts of the plan. 

“A number of parts were and continue to be fully funded,” Gill told KGW.

By Cody Mann