A total of seven bills, totalling more than $10 billion for K–12 education and childcare reforms, were signed into law by Oregon Governor Tina Kotek on Wednesday.
While other laws provide incentives for Oregonians to become teachers, promote diversity, and include pay increases for special education teachers and staff, the funds will increase K–12 teacher and staff compensation and prevent layoffs.
Kotek stated, “My vision for Oregon is a state where every child has a safe place to receive a high-quality, culturally relevant public education, and every family has access to affordable childcare.” “While I will always strive for more, I can say that for our children, progress has been accomplished today. For the upcoming tasks, a solid foundation has been established.
House Bill 5015, which invests a “historic” $10.2 billion in the State School Fund—the greatest sum ever given to the fund, according to Kotek—is one of the laws that was signed.
A $50 million Child Care Infrastructure Fund is established by House Bill 3005 to support the development of new child care facilities around the state and to expand access to existing ones.
With the help of Senate Bill 283, school districts will be able to increase pay for special education teachers and staff by developing a statewide educator workforce data system and conducting workforce surveys. The law also creates funding for mentorship and apprenticeship programs to help recently retired teachers obtain free substitute licenses.
The Oregon Department of Education will receive funding under Senate Bill 1050 for professional development programs for teachers and administrators on Holocaust, genocide, and ethnic studies curriculum standards.
House Bill 2281, which mandates that school boards appoint at least one civil rights coordinator to oversee compliance with anti-discrimination statutes and inquiries into discrimination complaints, was also approved by Kotek.