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Ian K. Kullgren
By Ian K. Kullgren July 6, 2011

With lawmakers' approval, Kitzhaber moves closer to calling this a 'Promise Kept'

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.

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Ian K. Kullgren
By Ian K. Kullgren February 4, 2011

Signs of single education budget in governor’s 2011-2013 proposal

During last year"s campaign season, Gov. John Kitzhaber made reforming education -- and the way it"s budgeted -- a big focus of his campaign. It"s a system, he said, that requires systemic changes and he would be happy to provide them.

One of the biggest changes Kitzhaber promised was the creation of a single budget for the entire education system, that means kindergarten on through a student"s theoretical PhD.

On Tuesday, with the release of his budget, Kitzhaber appears to be making progress toward keeping this promise. The governor"s proposed budget outline plans for a new "0-20 education investment budget – the Oregon Education Investment Fund – which will be administered by a new Oregon Education Investment Board.”

Kitzhaber can only get so far with this promise on his own. While the governor can -- and plans to -- establish the board by executive order, he"ll have to work to get a package of legislation through the Capitol in order to make the board functional and the fund (his ultimate goal) a reality.

According to the budget proposal, "legislation will be introduced to move the position of the State Superintendent of Public Education to an appointed position within the Executive Branch as the state"s Chief Education Investment Officer. And the state will begin the process of moving to a long-term budget framework to better account for link investments with results.”

That is to say that this is all still a ways away from being a promise kept, but it"s certainly In the Works.

We"ll keep you updated as he forms the board and introduces the legislation.

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