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Public education in Oregon

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K-12 Education in Oregon
State Superintendent: Rob Saxton
Number of students: 568,208[1]
Number of teachers: 26,791
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:21.2
Number of school districts: 221
Number of schools: 1,261
Graduation rate: 68%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $9,682[3]
See also
Public education in Oregon
Oregon Department of Education
Oregon school districts
List of school districts in Oregon
The Oregon public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards members and superintendents. Oregon has approximately 200 public school districts.

The Oregon state constitution requires that the legislature provide for the "establishment of a uniform, and general system of Common schools."[4] Funds for public schools shall, according to the Constitution, be distributed among the several counties in the state in "proportion to the number of children resident therein between the ages, four and twenty years."[5]

School revenues, expenditures and budget

See also: Oregon state budget
Oregon's education costs are 39% of the state budget

In the 2009-11 legislatively adopted budget Oregon total general fund expenditures equaled approximately $14.26 billion. The state school fund is 39%, $5.56 billion, of the state's expenditures. Higher education equals 5% and other education expenditures equal 7%.[6]

Oregon faced a $3.8 billion biennium FY 2010-11 budget deficit, relying heavily on new taxes and federal stimulus money to close the gap in the final budget signed by Gov. Ted Kulongoski and passed by the Oregon Legislature.[7][8] Figures released by Oregon House Republicans show the Oregon Legislature's FY 2010-11 biennial budget has $1.6 billion in new taxes and fees and uses $1.258 billion in one-time federal stimulus money for a $52.9 billion total funds budget (two-years) 9.3% larger than the previous budget.[9]

According to reports the "all funds budget" was $51.2 billion in 2007-09 and increased to $55.9 billion in 2009-11, a 9 percent increase. However, the "general fund" decreased from $15.1 billion for 2007-09 to $14.2 billion in 2009-11.[10]

In addition to state funding, Oregon approved of [Ballotpedia:Approval rates of local school bond and tax elections in 2010|2 new school bonds]] and 1 new tax to help fund public schools.

The cost per pupil is $9,558, ranking 30th in the nation according the Census Bureau 2007-2008 report.[11]

Personnel salaries

According to the Oregon Education Association, Oregon teachers average 14 years of teaching experience. In the state approximately 51% of teachers hold a Master's degree or higher.[12] The average starting salary is approximately $33,699 and the average annual teacher salary is $50,044.[13]

According to the Department of Education, in the 2005-2006 school year Oregon had:[14]

  • 158 superintendents
  • 57 assistant superintendents
  • 1,025 principals
  • 493 assistant principals
  • 722 curriculum directors
  • 369 librarians
  • 308 psychology staff members
  • 28,203 classroom teachers
  • 1,117 guidance counselors
  • 641 other staff members

Role of unions

The main unions related to the Oregon school system are the Oregon Education Association (OEA), an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), and the AFT Oregon, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. For the 2003 tax period OEA had: $18.85 million in total revenue, $16.32 million in total expenses and $34.59 million in total assets.[15] For the 2003 tax period AFT Oregon had: $1.25 million in total revenue, $1.30 million in total expenses and $858,259 in total assets.[16]

List of local Oregon school unions:[17]

Role of school boards

The State Board of Education was established by the legislature in 1951. The board is responsible for setting educational policies and standards for the state's school districts. It is comprised of seven members, all of which are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. The chair of the board is elected by members each year. Five members represent the state's five congressional districts, while two serve as at-large members. Board of education members are limited to two four-year terms.[18] According to the Oregon Constitution the state legislature provides for the election of a superintendent and prescribes his powers and duties.[19]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: Oregon government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Oregon School Boards Association.


In February 2009, a group of 27 legislators proposed a bill, the "Open Books Oregon Project," that would require the state to create a searchable website by January 1, 2010, listing revenue and expenditures for all state agencies.[20] Oregon House Bill 2500 states that "taxpayers should be able to easily access the details on how the state is spending their tax dollars and what performance results are achieved for those expenditures." The site provides: the location, purpose, and results of Oregon taxpayer investments; agency budget figures; contracting information; and audit reports issued by the state secretary of state. The bill was approved by both the House and the Senate. The governor signed the bill on July 28, 2009.[21]

Academic performance

According to the Oregon Department of Education annual AYP report, the state of Oregon met all AYP academic status requirements in the 2008-2009 school year. In 2006-2007 81.4% of enrolled students graduated, whereas in 2007-2008 84% of enrolled students graduated. Below are charts on Oregon's AYP history and their 2008-2009 results.[22]

AYP History

Year English AYP Math AYP Graduation Overall AYP
2006-2007[22] Not Met Not Met Met Not Met
2007-2008[22] Not Met Not Met Met Not Met
2008-2009[22] Not Met Not Met Met Not Met

2008-2009 AYP results

Subject  % Met Status Participation Rate %
Reading[22] 76.55% 99%
Mathematics[22] 72.86% 99%

State Budget Solutions’ Education Study: “Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working”

State Budget Solutions’ examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. Download the full report here: Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working.

See National Chart to compare data from all 50 states.

State Spending on Education vs. Academic Performance 2012

State 2011 Total Spending[23] 2011 Education Spending[24] 2011 Percent Education Spending 2012 Total Spending[25] 2012 Education Spending[26] 2012 Percent Education Spending 2010 Avg. ACT score[27] 2011 Avg. ACT score[28] 2012 Avg. ACT score[29] 2010 Graduation Rate[30] 2011 Graduation Rate[31]
Oregon $39.1 billion $10.6 billion 27.1% $38.3 billion $10.5 billion 27.4% 21.5 21.5 21.4 73.8% 76.7%

School choice

School choice options include:

  • Charter schools: are public schools that are independently operated. According to the Oregon Department of Education the state of Oregon hosts approximately 100 charter schools.[32] Some of the available charter schools are listed below:
  • Public school open enrollment: the state of Oregon has two open enrollment policies: intra-district and inter-district. In other words, students are permitted to enroll in any school in any alternative district in the state or in any alternative school within a district.[33]
  • Online learning: Oregon has a state-led online program called Oregon Virtual School District. According to reports, the program offered approximately "82 course templates for teachers."[34]

External links


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. Oregon Constitution,"Article VIII, Section 3," accessed March 27, 2010
  5. Oregon Constitution,"Article VIII, Section 4," accessed March 27, 2010
  6. Oregon Budget and Management Division,"Budget Advisory Group report (page 17)," November 18, 2009
  7. Daily Vanguard, "Co-chair budget released," May 20, 2009
  8. Oregon House Republicans Newsletter, "2009 Session By the Numbers," July 13, 2009
  9. Oregon House Republicans Newsletter, "2009 Session By the Numbers," July 13, 2009
  10. The Register-Guard,"Has government tightened its own belt enough?," January 15, 2010
  11. Maine Watchdog, Education Spending Per Child, July 6, 2010
  12. Oregon Education Association,"Professional Pay for Oregon's Quality Educators," accessed March 28, 2010
  13. Teacher Portal,"Oregon Teacher Salary," accessed March 28, 2010
  14. Oregon Department of Education,"Certificated Staff Summary 2005 - 2006," accessed March 28, 2010
  15. Center for Union Facts,"Oregon Education Association," accessed March 27, 2010
  16. Center for Union Facts,"AFT Oregon," accessed March 27, 2010
  17. Center for Union Facts,"Oregon teachers unions," accessed March 27, 2010
  18. Oregon Department of Education,"State Board of Education," accessed March 27, 2010
  19. Oregon Constitution,"Article VIII, Section 1," accessed March 27, 2010
  20. USA Today,"States put spending details online," February 23,2009
  21. The Oregonian,"House Bill 2500," accessed March 27, 2010
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 Oregon Department of Education,"2008-2009 State AYP Report," accessed March 27, 2010
  23. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  24. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  25. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  26. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  27. 2010 ACT National and State Scores "Average Scores by State"
  28. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  29. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  30. National Center for Education Statistics
  31. National Center for Education Statistics
  32. Oregon Department of Education,"Charter Schools," accessed March 27, 2010
  33. Education Commission of the States,"Open Enrollment: 50-State Report," accessed March 27, 2010
  34. The Heritage Foundation,"School Choice in Oregon," accessed March 27, 2010