Last week, state Sen. Alan Olsen (R-Canby) introduced his 'Education First' package to address the underfunded education system in Oregon.

Olsen said that "Oregon's underfunded schools are hurting students, parents and educators."

"Both parties must work together to end the era of failure in Oregon. By passing my 'education first' package we can liberate educators and students from the burdens of an underfunded education system," added Olsen. "Oregon's government clearly hasn't prioritized educators and students and that is unacceptable. We must make 'education first' and pave the way for a better future here in Oregon." SUBMITTED PHOTO - Canby Senator Alan Olsen

The first proposal, Senate Joint Resolution 020, co-sponsored with Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, of John Day, proposes an amendment to the Constitution that would require the Legislature to appropriate funds for Oregon's K-12 system by the 65th day of regular session held in odd-numbered year and would prohibit legislator compensation if the appropriation is not passed.

Another proposal, Senate Bill 671, appropriates $9,523,300,000 to the State School Fund.

Senate Bill 672 appropriates funds to the Oregon Department of Education to award grants for career and technical education.

Senate Bill 673 appropriates $760,000,000 to public universities and Senate Bill 674 appropriates $589,000,000 to community colleges.

Forty-seven other states rank higher than Oregon when it comes to graduation rates and we rank 43rd for overall performance.

In 2011, 67 percent of Oregon students graduated from high school within four years, and 70 percent within five. In Oregon, 69 percent of the class of 2013 graduated with a diploma, compared to 81 percent nationally.

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