A good year for education ballot measures, not bonds


A good year for education ballot measures, not bonds

9:24 p.m. PST November 8, 2016

Voters appear to support outdoor school, technical education, and public universities investing in equities, but seem to be turning a cold shoulder toward local school district bond measures.

Early election results Tuesday night showed all education-related ballot measures passed, but the three local district bond measures did not.

There were three education-related measures on the 2016 Oregon ballot and three local issues — ballot measures 95, 98 and 99, and district bond measures for Jefferson, Falls City and Central school districts.

Measure 95: Passed

Measure 95, which allows public universities to investments in equities with the intent to reduce financial risk and increase investments to benefit students, passed Tuesday.

Additional investment income will benefit students by minimizing tuition increases and enhancing student programs, according to the supporters.

The measure passed comfortably.

Measure 98: Passed

Measure 98 was among the most talked about education measures this election cycle.

It will require state funding for dropout-prevention, technical education, and career and college readiness programs in Oregon high schools.

It requires the legislature to provide at least $800 per high school student — adjusted upward annually for inflation/population — to a Department of Education administered account.

The measure passed with a large amount of support.

“Thank you Oregon voters,” Toya Fick, a chief petitioner for the Yes for 98 campaign, said via email. “Tonight is a victory for our high school students.

“Oregon’s rise from the bottom in graduation rates begins today,” she said. “Starting next school year, every Oregon high school student will get more access to vocational and career technical education, college prep classes and dropout prevention.

“We’ll put our students back on track, keep them on track, and connect them to good-paying jobs, college or both.”

Fick said their work has just begun.

“This is the beginning, not the end,” she said. “Our goal isn’t just to pass a ballot measure … It is to dramatically lift Oregon’s graduation rates and help ensure students graduate ready for college and career.”

Measure 99: Passed

Measure 99 creates an “Outdoor School Education Fund,” which will be funded through the state lottery, to provide outdoor school programs statewide.

Though it has passed, allocations to the fund should not reduce lottery proceeds dedicated under the Oregon Constitution to education, parks, beaches, watersheds, fish, wildlife.

The measure passed comfortably.

Central School District bond measure: Defeated

Central School District asked voters to approve 27-122, a $26 million bond measure, to pay for improvements, additions and renovations for aging facilities, as well as accessibility, physical education and food service needs.

The measure did not pass, meaning the district will not have that money to construct and renovate school facilities.

Jefferson School District bond measure: Defeated

The Jefferson School District had 24-417, a $16.5 million bond measure. The bond would have had an estimated tax rate of $1.48 per $1,000 of assessed property value over the life of the bonds.

The measure did not pass, meaning the district will not have that money to construct and renovate school facilities.

Falls City School District bond measure: Defeated

The Fall City School District had a $2 million bond measure on the ballot, with an estimated tax rate of $1.30 per $1,000.

The measure did not pass, meaning the district will not have that money to construct and renovate school facilities.

For more election results and information, go to results.oregonvotes.gov.

Contact Natalie at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist or on the Web at nataliepate.com

Published by Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is a freelance journalist and author based in Salem, Oregon. She wrote about education for more than seven years at the Statesman Journal and now covers education and other topics throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is originally from Colorado and earned her B.A. in Politics and French from Willamette University.

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