Funded: State Policy Analysis

A Detailed Look at Each State's Funding Policies

Below, see summaries of the state’s education funding policy in each issue area. Click the Expand icon next to any summary to see more detail, if available, about that state’s policy regarding that issue area. Click the Citation icon
next to any summary to see the sources of the information regarding that issue area.
Oregon
Funding Basics
Formula Type

Oregon has a primarily student-based funding formula. It assigns a cost to the education of a student with no special needs or services, called a base amount. It then accounts for the additional cost of educating specific categories of students both through program-specific grants and by applying multipliers to the base amount to generate supplemental funding for certain students.

The categories of students generating supplemental funding in Oregon are low-income students, English language learners, and students with disabilities. Gifted and talented education and supplemental funding for remote schools are funded through additional allocations.

References:
Elliott, Michael. Funding Oregon’s Future. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Education, 2015.
Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 327.013
Oregon Department of Education. 2015-16 State School Fund Estimates. Salem, OR: Oregon
Department of Education, December 2015.
Oregon Department of Education. TAG - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Education, 2016.
Base Amount

Oregon has a fixed base funding amount per student. For FY2016, the per-student base funding amount was $4,500.  This amount reflected the assumed cost of educating an average student with no special needs or disadvantages. The state’s base amount is adjusted to reflect each district’s staff costs before other funding weights are applied.

This adjustment is based on the “Teacher Experience Difference,” which is the amount by which the average of the number of years of teacher experience in the district exceeds that average statewide. This amount, which may be positive or negative, is multiplied by $25 and added to the $4,500 base to create a new, district-specific per-student base amount.

After teacher experience adjustments are made, the new base amounts are adjusted by a ratio that ensures that all money appropriated for the formula will distributed to school districts.

References:
Elliot, Michael. Partnering for Your Success: Oregon’s State School Fund. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Education, 2015.
Expected Local Share

Oregon expects school districts to contribute revenue to the funding of public schools. The amount each district is expected to raise for its education costs is based primarily on its assessed property values: each district is expected to contribute $5.00 for every thousand dollars of assessed property wealth (a level that is usually lower than market valuation) for the purpose of funding its schools.

The state also expects districts to contribute revenue received from a number of other sources, including of federal forest reserve revenues and revenues from the County School Fund. Once the state calculates the total amount of funding necessary to educate students within a district, it subtracts the expected local contribution and provides the difference in the form of state education aid.  However, school districts in Oregon that choose to do so may raise less, though not more, money locally than the expected amount.

Districts may also impose additional taxes to fund new construction. The rate of such a tax is limited to $1 per $1,000 of residential property and $0.50 per $1,000 of nonresidential property, and can generate no more than $25,000 in total.

References:
Elliott, Michael. Funding Oregon’s Future. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Education, 2015.
O.R. Const. art. XI, § 11, cl. 11
Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 327.011
Student Characteristics
Grade Level

Oregon does not differentiate funding based on students’ grade levels.

English Language Learner

Oregon provides additional resources to English language learners. It does so by applying a multiplier of 1.5 to the base per-pupil amount for these students.

The total funding generated for any one student who is receiving services for a disability and is also an English language learner is capped at three times the base amount.  This cap does not currently have practical effect but could if the legislature increased the multiplier for either category of student need.

Additionally, Oregon has an English Language Learner Improvement Fund, an appropriation that supports technical assistance for and oversight of districts that are not providing adequate ELL services to their students. Funding for this program was $6.25 million in 2015-16.

References:
Elliott, Michael. State School Fund Coordinator. Office of Finance and Administration. Oregon Department of Education. Email message to EdBuild. December 21, 2015.
Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 327.013
Student Poverty

Oregon provides increased funding for students from low-income households. It does so by applying a multiplier of 1.25 to the base per-pupil amount for these students.

The number of students eligible for the supplemental funding is determined using the United States Census Bureau’s Small Area Income Poverty Estimate, which gives an estimate of the number of school-aged children in families below the federal poverty level for each district in the state.

The state also mandates that all students eligible for reduced-price lunch under the National School Lunch Program be given free lunch, and it allocates funds to districts to cover this cost.

References:
Elliott, Michael. Funding Oregon’s Future. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Education, 2015.
 
Oregon Department of Education. 2015-16 State School Fund Estimates. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Education, December 2015. 
Special Education

Oregon funds special education using a single student weight system, providing the same amount of state funding for each student with disabilities, regardless of the severity of those disabilities. It does so by applying a multiplier of 2.0 to the per-student base amount for students with disabilities.

However, the percentage of enrollment that can be funded using this may not exceed 11%. Above that prevalence threshold, students with disabilities are funded using a lower multiplier determined by the Department of Education. Additionally, the state provides partial reimbursements for the education of students whose approved special education costs exceed $30,000.

The remainder of state special education funding is distributed through specific program-based allocations, including the Oregon School for the Deaf; hospital programs, day treatment programs, and residential treatment programs for children with disabilities; regional services provided to children with low-incidence disabilities; evaluation services to determine eligibility for special-needs services; and matching grants for Medicaid dollars secured by the district to support services provided to children with disabilities. The speech pathology program and skilled nursing facilities are supported by separate state funding streams.

References:
Elliott, Michael. Funding Oregon’s Future. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Education, 2015.
Ore. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 327-013
Ore. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 327-023
Ore. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 327-34
Gifted

Oregon does not provide additional resources for gifted and talented students.

However, the state does appropriate $150,000 annually for a Talented and Gifted staff member at the state level to provide districts with technical assistance.

References:
Elliott, Michael. State School Fund Coordinator. Office of Finance and Administration. Oregon Department of Education. Email message to EdBuild. May 23, 2016.
Career and Technical Education

Oregon does not provide specific funding for career and technical education programs.

Community Characteristics
District Poverty

Oregon does not provide increased funding based on the concentration of students from low-income households in a particular district.

Sparsity and/or Small Size

Oregon provides increased funding for small and remote elementary schools and for small high schools.  In both cases, funding is provided through a supplemental per-student amount calculated through a formula that considers school enrollment and the number of grades served by the school, with the elementary school formula also considering the remoteness of the school. Small high schools also receive an additional supplemental grant.

In order to qualify for remote elementary school funding, an elementary school must have no more than an average of 28 students in each grade served, and the school must be located more than 8 miles from the nearest other elementary school. In order to qualify for small high school funding, a high school must be in a district with less than 8,500 students and must have an enrollment of fewer than 350 students if the school has four grades, or 267 if the school only serves three grades.

The state appropriates $2.5 million annually for the small high schools supplemental grant. The funding is divided among the qualifying schools in amounts proportional to their enrollment.

References:
Office of School Finance. Oregon Department of Education. Small High School Grant Calculations for
2013-14 and Preliminary Payment for 2014-15. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Education, April 2016.
Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 327.077
Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 327.357