Education a focus of the 2015 Regular Legislative Session
The 2015 Regular Legislative Session adjourned on July 6, 2015. This session was marked by strong Democrat majorities in both chambers and the newly appointed Governor Brown taking over just after the legislature convened.The 2015 Regular Legislative Session adjourned on July 6, 2015. This session was marked by strong Democrat majorities in both chambers and the newly appointed Governor Brown taking over just after the legislature convened. The Alliance partners with statewide business organizations on legislative issues, including moving the agenda laid out in the Oregon Business Plan. In addition, the Alliance plays an active role on issues in which there is a particular Portland-metro perspective. This session, the Alliance played an active role on several education issues.
The Alliance’s education advocacy focused on two areas: post-secondary education funding and STEM/CTE programs. Oregon’s seven public universities received $700 million this biennium, a funding increase of approximately 30 percent. While this increase was welcome, it is short of the targeted $750 million. Increasing post-secondary funding will remain a focus at the 2016 February session. This year’s increase includes $30 million directed to student affordability and support services to increase retention and graduation rates. In addition, post-secondary institutions, including universities and community colleges, received approximately $240 million in the capital construction budget.
STEM and CTE programs received $35 million in state funding for the biennium, a significant increase over prior biennia, for programs such as Regional STEM Hubs, CTE revitalization grants, STEM innovation grants and a Career Pathway Fund. The Alliance is a member of the STEM/CTE Coalition working in support of greater investments in this area.