Image via WikipediaNote that this means that energy efficiency upgrades for schools would make a lot more sense than new construction in many cases -- long overdue. Hat tip to Onward Oregon for writing all this down, saving me the trouble.
High Marks for Measures 68 and 69
Ballots are in the mail and the primary season is in full swing, but did you know a pair of ballot measures face Oregonians that would amend the state constitution and greatly impact the future of the state’s education system?
Don’t worry if you haven’t done your homework on Measures 68 and 69, because you’re hardly alone: They frankly haven’t gotten much attention because opposition to these measures has been scarce — and for good reason!
The writers of Measures 68 and 69 have earned extra credit in our books by simply (and smartly) correcting a longstanding law that's prevented Oregon schools — from K-12 to community colleges to universities — from using their funding most effectively.
For instance, under current law, when Oregon’s local school districts, colleges and universities need to improve or expand a facility, they’re restricted from using voter-approved bond funds to purchase or repair existing buildings. Bond funds, current law goes, can only pay for new construction, which hamstrings local school districts, our community colleges and universities by blocking modernization of existing facilities, an approach which would save money and more briskly create jobs.
Measures 68 and 69 would change this outdated law and allow local school districts, colleges and universities to use bond funds more effectively, flexibly and smartly.
Measure 68 would allow local districts to pass bond levies to pay for repairs, maintenance and upgrades to school facilities in order to protect the health and safety of K-12 students (think adequate bathrooms and alleviating dangerous molds, pests and wood rot). The measure will also allow the state to issue matching funds to make local dollars go further, and help take pressure off schools bursting at the seams with increased enrollment.
Measure 69 will fix the law to allow colleges and universities to use the lowest-cost bond funds for existing buildings, saving money and preserving historical treasures in the process. The measure will allow a college or university to expand — for more classroom space, career and guidance counseling and worker training programs — and use the lowest-cost bonds to bring back to life older buildings that are in sound shape and often historically meaningful. Cash-strapped colleges and universities would also avoid the expense and use of natural resources required when building entirely new structures.
So, now that you know a bit more about Measures 68 and 69, we urge you to join the wide-ranging support of the American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, Stand For Children, the Oregon Education Association, the Oregon School Employees Association, the Oregon Business Council, Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council and media outlets like The Oregonian, Medford Mail Tribune, Eugene Register-Guard and Willamette Week and vote YES on Measures 68 and 69.
For more information, visit www.yeson68and69.com.
The Team at Onward Oregon