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Ore. Lawmakers Begin Work On Education Reform Bills

Bryan Buckalew


SALEM, Ore. - Oregon lawmakers began voting Monday on a variety of bills to make sweeping changes to the state's education system. The Senate has already passed many of the proposals. In the the House, Democrats accuse Republicans of slowing down momentum but Republicans say the education package will come to a vote Tuesday.

One of the bills would create a single education board to oversee everything from preschool to higher education. The plan has been a top priority of Governor John Kitzhaber. Supporters hope the measure will streamline school operations, which they say have become increasingly compartmentalized. Dan Jamison is with the non-partisan education group the Chalkboard Project.

Dan Jamison: "I think parents are often bewildered at the different operational demands of early childhood, K-12 education, community college, and the OUS system."

Another bill would replace Oregon's elected superintendent of public instruction with an education leader appointed by the governor. Separately, lawmakers sent the governor his "cool schools" initiative. It would establish a fund for energy upgrades in K-12 classrooms.