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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

March 22, 2011

Legislature Considers Oregon Department of Education Mandate Relief Bill

SALEM- Today the Oregon Senate Education and Workforce Development legislative committee took up consideration of SB 800 PDF – an Oregon Department of Education (ODE) bill aimed at eliminating or revising 28 outdated or redundant state laws. The laws in this bill create busy work with no tangible benefits to student learning.

“In a time of diminished budgets, our schools need to focus their scarce resources on the programs and services that truly impact student success,” said State Superintendent Susan Castillo. “This means doing what we can at the state level to remove any unnecessary roadblocks that stand in the way of schools doing their work as effectively and efficiently as possible. The goal is really to spend less time on reporting and paperwork and more time on educating kids so that we can keep the focus on learning and preparing our students for graduation, college, and careers.”

Statutes listed for amendment or repeal include:
• Simplify the statewide and school and district report cards by putting some of the information on the Internet and allowing e-mailing of reports
• Repeal community service guideline requirements
• Eliminate state mandates relating to local school committees
• Eliminate a duplicate report on the race and ethnic characteristics of high school graduates
• Eliminate a teaching requirement for the Irish Potato Famine, arms race, and conflict resolution
• Eliminate outdated requirement that school districts record contents of student dental certificates
• Eliminate the requirement that school districts withhold grade reports, diplomas, and records of students who owe more than $50
• Eliminate redundant and outdated requirements that superintendent distribute and prepare education laws

SB 800 is a second attempt to reduce the number of mandates the state requires of our public education system; a similar bill last session did not pass. To identify additional mandates and garner more support for the bill, ODE met with stakeholder groups that included school district administrators and representatives of the Oregon Education Association, the Oregon School Boards Association, the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts, the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators and the Oregon School Employees Association. The goal of these groups was to examine our state’s entire public kindergarten through grade 12 education system to identify outdated and redundant state mandates.

Senate bill 800 enjoys bi-partisan support including co-sponsors Sen. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Portland) and Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville).

“Eliminating mandates reduces costs on our school districts and allows them to spend more money in the classroom,” said Representative Matt Wingard.

“These are tough times for Oregon,” said Senator Suzanne Bonamici. “That means it’s more important than ever that we are finding ways to increase government efficiency and eliminate waste. Senate Bill 800 is a great example of cutting administrative red tape to make sure tax dollars are directly benefiting Oregon children and their families.”

In addition to pursuing mandate relief through SB 800, the Oregon Department of Education is currently reviewing more than 100 administrative rules and policies with stakeholders for possible amendment or revision to provide further relief and more flexibility to school districts. The Department is also working with partners at the national level to address the long list of mandates from the federal government.

• Audio Clip - Quote from Superintendent Castillo on mandates relief for schools: http://video.orvsd.org/ode/110314-mandates-relief.MP3

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Susanne Smith, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5637

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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Oregon Department of Education
Voice: 503-947-5600
Fax: 503-378-5156
255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203

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