The Oregon Legislature approved a massive package of education-related bills before adjourning this year. While some might disagree on the merits of the legislation, there's no disagreement that the passage was a major success for Gov. John Kitzhaber.
Among other things, it moves him closer to his goal of creating a single state education budget.
During his 2010 campaign for his third term as governor, Ktizhaber argued that the state's education system required major change. As part of that, he pledged to create a budget for the system as a whole, all the way from kindergarten to graduate studies.
He got part of the way there in February when he released his state budget and outlined plans for the Oregon Education Investment Fund (you can read more about that by scrolling down). But at that point, it was only a theoretical board. Sure, he could establish it by executive order, but lawmakers had to infuse it with actual power.
That's just what did when they passed Senate Bill 909.
Here's the legislative summary (well, part of it, anyway): "The Oregon Education Investment Board is established ... (to oversee) a unified public education system that begins with early childhood services and continues throughout public education from kindergarten to post-secondary education.”
The governor also succeeded in persuading lawmakers to approve Senate Bill 552, which makes him the new superintendent of public instruction (once the current office holder's term is up) and gives him the power to appoint a deputy (subject to the Senate's OK).
That is all to say that the governor is pretty well poised to keep this promise of his. Not only is the board functional, but the governor will be the one calling the shots. We'll keep this a promise In the Works until we see a single education budget, but the heavy lifting is done.