State Capitol
Press Release
November 14, 2008
Education Remains Governor's Top Budget Priority
Governor keeps education top budget priority, calls for prudence during tough economic times
(Portland) – Today in a speech to the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) annual conference, Governor Kulongoski reiterated his commitment to moving education – pre-K through post-secondary – forward during the current economic recession.
“In good times and bad economic times – one thing does not change: our children need a quality education,” the Governor said. “And my absolute top priority remains education.”
The Governor recapped the last several quarters of revenue declines, where in September the revenue forecast for 2009-11 was down $500 million from the close of session 2007. 
The Governor went on to say that he expected the upcoming revenue forecast on November 19th will show that state revenues are further in decline. Despite what will be difficult economic times ahead, the Governor continued to emphasize making children the priority. 
“In tough economic times – children go to the head of the line,” the Governor said.  “That’s true for keeping them healthy – and it is true for educating their minds.”
The Governor also called on the school boards and school districts to be prudent during these uncertain economic times and announced his request to have the Department of Education to delay the payments from the school improvement fund until the economic picture becomes clearer. He also offered to talk to the Board of Education about extending the implementation date on the new high school graduation requirements to reduce associated costs for school districts immediately.
“I can tell you with near certainty that the economic situation is going to get worse before it gets better, but I meant what I said about education being my top priority,” the Governor continued. “I want you to know that my commitment to education is unbending and my faith in our ability to weather this economic storm and keep our schools training grounds for excellence and opportunity is undiminished.”
The Governor closed with a call for renewed partnership among the state and education community to weather the economic storm and keep Oregon education strong through these tough times.
“By investing in the funds we have wisely, managing our schools prudently and working together cooperatively – we can keep education in Oregon moving forward even while we take the painful steps necessary to balance the budget,” the Governor concluded. “The next two years will not be easy.  But we cannot tell Oregon’s students – be patient and wait for a brighter day.”

For the text of the Governor’s speech, click here.
Anna Richter Taylor, 503-378-6169
Rem Nivens, 503-378-6496
Jillian Schoene, 503-378-5040

Page updated: November 17, 2008

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