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Oregon Teachers Performance Pay, Measure 60 (2008)

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Oregon Teachers Performance Pay, Measure 60 (IRR 20) was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute. It was defeated.

Sizemore referred to it as the "Kids First Act." During the period when signatures were collected on the initiative, it was officially known as Initiative 20.[1]

Election results

Measure 60
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No1,070,68261.39%
Yes 673,296 38.61%
Election results from Oregon Secretary of State

Background

The goal of the initiative was to create a new Oregon state statute (not a constitutional amendment) mandating that state teachers' classroom performance, not their seniority, determine pay raises. It would also mandate that the "most qualified" teachers be retained under employment, replacing seniority as a major consideration.[2] "Classroom performance" and "most qualified" are not defined by the measure.

This was the second time Sizemore had placed a similar measure on the ballot. Measure 95 in 2000 was defeated by a 65%-35% margin.

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official ballot title for Measure 60 was:

Teacher "classroom performance," not seniority, determines pay raises; "most qualified" teachers retained, regardless of seniority.[3]

Text of statute

The language of the proposed statute was:

  • Section 1. Teacher pay raises and job security shall be based on job performance. (a) After the effective date of this 2008 Act, pay raises for public school teachers shall be based upon each teacher’s classroom performance and not related or connected to his or her seniority. If a school district reduces its teaching staff, the district shall retain the teachers who are most qualified to teach the specific subjects, which they will be assigned to teach. A determination as to which teacher is most qualified shall be based upon each teacher’s past classroom experience successfully teaching the specific subject(s) or class, as well his or her as academic training in the relevant subject matter.
  • (b) This 2008 Act shall be called the “Kids First Act” and shall supersede any previously existing law, rule, or policy with which it conflicts. This Act shall not be implemented in a manner so as to violate or impair the obligation of any contract in existence as of the effective date of this Act, but shall govern later extensions to those contracts and new contracts entered into after the effective date of this Act.[3]

Note: "Classroom performance" and "most qualified" are not defined in the measure.

Estimated fiscal impact

The state's Financial Estimate Committee prepares estimated fiscal impact statements for any ballot measures that will appear on the ballot. The estimate prepared by this committee for Measure 60 said:

  • Measure 60 would require between $30 and $72 million in additional state and local spending in the first year.
  • After the first year, it would require between $30-$60 million a year in additional state and local spending.[4]

Support

Supporters

Measure 60 was filed by chief petitioners Bill Sizemore and R. Russell Walker.

Preserve Our Best Teachers was the name of the committee sponsoring the original initiative.[5] There is no committee filed to support the ballot measure.

The Oregonian reported in September 2007 that Loren Parks was the leading contributor to Measure 60.[6][7]

Randall J. Pozdena, Ph.D., of the Cascade Policy Institute, authored a commentary that argued, "Absent serious structural reforms such as school-level competition, paying for performance in the classroom may be the best way to stimulate higher academic achievement among our K-12 public school students."

Arguments in favor

Notable arguments made in support of the measure included:

  • Good teachers should be rewarded.
  • "While money may not be the only way to attract the teachers we need, it is a useful tool and one we can readily wield."[8]
  • What's more important to our kids' education: tenure or good teaching skills?
  • The proposal will "reward good teachers, weed out bad ones and improve the quality of the state's schools."[9]

Opposition

Opponents

Measure 60 was opposed by the Parents and Teachers Know Better Coalition, which described itself as "a broad coalition of parents, teachers, and school advocates who care about Oregon's students & schools."[10] The Parents and Teachers Know Better campaign was part of the Defend Oregon coalition, which opposed all five of the ballot initiatives on the November 4 ballot that were sponsored by Sizemore.[11]

Members of the coalition included Stand for Children, Oregon PTA, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon Education Association, American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, Oregon School Employees Association, and the Human Services Coalition of Oregon, among others.[12]

Arguments against

Notable arguments made against Measure 60 included:

  • It is "costly, ill-conceived, inflexible and potentially damaging to the children of Oregon...poorly written, vague and not based on best practices.”[13]
  • It could lead to more standardized testing and cause low-income areas to lose teachers.
  • Gary Stutzman of the Hillsboro Argus wrote an editorial encouraging voters to choose "no" on the measure. Read it here.

Donors

Defend Oregon, as a committee, fought seven different ballot measures, and supported two others. Altogether, the group raised over $6 million in 2008.[14]

Major donations to the Defend Oregon group as of October 8 included:[15]

Newspaper endorsements

Below is a list of newspapers that editorialized against Measure 60:

Newspapers Yes No
The Oregonian No
Medford Mail-Tribune No
Statesman Journal No
Bend Bulletin No
Portland Tribune No
Eugene Register-Guard No
Daily Astorian No
East Oregonian No
Corvallis Gazette Times No
Coos Bay The World No
Willamette Week No
Yamhill Valley News Register No
Gresham Outlook No

Path to the ballot

Initiative Petition 20 was originally approved for circulation on August 30, 2006, and the signatures were turned in in July. 83,724 signatures were found to be valid of those submitted, versus a qualification threshold of 82,769.[19]

A union-funded watchdog group asked the Oregon Secretary of State to conduct an investigation into how some of the signatures on the measure were collected. Bill Bradbury, the Secretary of State has said, ""...most all of the initiatives Oregon voters will decide this fall got there through practices that are now illegal. But those practices were legal at the time most of the signatures were submitted." A lawsuit has been filed in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the new laws governing the initiative process in Oregon.[20][21][22]

See also

External links

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Basic information

Support

Opposition


References

  1. The Register-Guard, "Teacher pay measure qualifies for Oregon's November ballot," August 2, 2008
  2. Official summary from the Secretary of State
  3. 3.0 3.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  4. Estimated fiscal impact statement for Oregon Measure 60
  5. ORESTAR Elections Reporting, Statement of Organization for Chief Petitioner Committee, Secretary of State Official
  6. OregonLive.com: "Loren Parks funds more initiatives," The Oregonian, Septemebr 7, 2007
  7. Sizemore found in contempt
  8. http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/3438676.html
  9. "Teacher pay could rest on kids"
  10. Parents and Teachers Know Better Coalition
  11. Ballot measure pits old foes in re-match
  12. Oregon Voters' Pamphlet, list of opponents of Measure 50
  13. The Register Guard: "Coalition launches campaign against education measures," September 5, 208
  14. Campaign finance history of Defend Oregon for 2008
  15. Record of donations to Defend Oregon
  16. Oregon Live, "Teachers, nurses add $2.5 million to campaigns," September 10, 2008
  17. The Oregonian, "OEA puts $4 million into ballot measure fight," October 8, 2008
  18. Oregonian, "School workers add $100,000 to campaign," August 25, 2008
  19. 2008 elections measures, detailed signature verification results
  20. KATU-TV, "Union watchdog group asks for initiative review," July 20, 2008
  21. News.OPB.org: "Progressive Group Claims Ballot Petitions Included Forgeries," Oregon Public Broadcasting, July 15, 2008
  22. NW Labor Press, "Sizemore operation faces new forgery allegations," August 1, 2008