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Gov. Kate Brown Goes To Medford To Praise Controversial New Education Funding

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Liam Moriarty / JPR News
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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown holds up ceremonial copies of the bill she signed authorizing new funding for public education.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown welcomed the class of 2023 at South Medford High School Monday. She was there to celebrate an additional $1 billion a year to be invested in Oregon schools.

The new bill provides an unprecedented increase in funding for a wide range of programs like school safety, mental health and preschool access. Brown acknowledged many students don’t go to college and says the act also funds technical training.

"We want to make sure there is technical opportunities, apprenticeship programs for those students as well and make sure they get those hands-on learning opportunities so they can be ready for a career or a technical job," she said.

Brown said these investments will give young learners the tools they need to compete in a global economy.

This measure was passed over solid Republican opposition. It triggered the first of two walkouts by Republic senators last session. Brown said she’s hoping to head off similar protests by Republicans in the future.

"I am already meeting with legislators on both sides of the aisle, getting ready for the February session," she said. "And I know that we can find a path forward that will make sure that Oregon keeps moving ahead."

Democratic senators say they’ll be introducing a constitutional amendment that would avoid future walkouts. If it makes the ballot, that amendment would be decided by Oregon voters in the 2020 general election.