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Schools Budget Headed For Floor Votes In Salem

A budget for Oregon schools is headed for floor votes earlier than lawmakers have managed in years. It starts with a key vote Tuesday.

Leaders of the Oregon House and Senate are pressing ahead with a $7.25 billion dollar budget for public schools. First stop is a joint subcommittee - followed by a vote planned for Thursday at the Ways and Means Committee.

The budget is about $20 million bigger than what the co-chairs announced in January. More than half of the increase would help students learning English. $2.5 million would provide a free lunch to students who had previously qualified for a reduced-price meal.

School advocates have complained that the budget falls short. They point to rising costs - like the requirement for this fall that all districts provide a full day of kindergarten.

Legislative leaders say kindergarten is covered, but acknowledge the budget doesn't make "game-changing investments." They say if revenues come in higher, 40 percent will go to schools.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rob Manning is a news editor at Oregon Public Broadcasting, with oversight of reporters covering education, healthcare and business. Rob became an editor in 2019, following about 15 years covering schools and universities in Oregon and southwest Washington as OPB’s education reporter.