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A new business tax might fund billions to Oregon education

The Student Success Act still has to be approved by the senate.

Posted: May 2, 2019 11:25 PM
Updated: May 2, 2019 11:30 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- The Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) will fund two billion dollars for Oregon education. The act passed legislature, but still needs to be approved by the senate. 

Medford School District Communications Specialist, Natalie Hurd, said, "Today's vote on the Student Success Act was a great step forward."

It's a step toward fully funding Oregon schools. According to the Quality Education Model, Oregon K-12 schools need a $10.7 billion budget to give students what they need to succeed.

Beginning in 2020, CAT will impact about 40,000 Oregon businesses have sales of more than one million dollars a year. With the tax, it is estimated to generate $1.6 billion dollars for education. It will also reduce personal income tax rates for the three lower brackets. The new tax would take effect with tax year 2020. 

The Medford School District Chief Operations Officer, Brad Earl, said, "It'll take some time before this act, if it's approved by the senate and the governor, starts actually showing up in the classroom."

The funds will be used for more than 20 different programs, including increasing instructional time, addressing student health and safety needs, reducing class size and increasing curricular opportunities.

"The thing that's going to be frustrating for parents and families on this, is that the immediate impact on the classroom will probably be kind of pushed out into the future," Earl explained. "Put another way, there will be no immediate impact in the classroom."

Hurd said teachers want the community to understand how important education and education funding is. That's why Oregon Education Assocation plans to host a Day of Action. 

"Teachers across the state are continuing to come together to advocate for that funding," Hurd said. "So on May 8th we will all be joining together - district administrators, teachers and the school board - and having a walk to bring awareness to the importance of funding for education."

School won't be canceled on May 8th. However, middle and high school students will still arrive at the same will be released earlier. This is so all staff that want to participate in Day of Action will have the opportunity to. AP exams, athletics and all other activities will continue as originally planned and buses will also still run. 

Additional details about school schedules can be found on the Medford School District website. The Phoenix-Talent School District isn't planning to cancel school. The Klamath Falls City School District also plans on having school as regularly scheduled, but said they will have to cancel if not enough teachers show up.

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