The “65 percent solution” is a political gimmick that will do nothing to improve student performance in Oregon
Initiative petition 24 (“IP 24”) for the 2008 General Election, requires that Oregon school districts spend at least 65 percent of their operational expenditures on those costs that proponents have decided are most important to student learning. Pundit George Will dubbed a nearly identical formula the “65 percent solution,” but the formula is a solution for nothing. Despite its proponents’ assertions, the measure is merely a political ruse with no value for improving student outcomes.
- An analysis of Oregon school districts conducted for OCPP by the Rural Schools and Community Trust found that Oregon school districts that spend more of their operating budgets on “instruction,” as defined by IP 24, are not producing better outcomes for their students.
- Oregon schools spend just 1.4 percent of their operating budgets on central – or district-level – administration. Only 10 states spend a smaller share of their school operating budgets on district-level administration.
- School spending on support services can be critical to student educational achievement. For example, students benefit when teachers are well-trained. Counselors help prevent drop-outs, and nurses help reduce days lost to illness. Students learn more efficiently when their school building has lights, heat, plumbing in good repair, and clean bathrooms. Because IP 24 does not include support services in the definition of instruction, it dismisses the importance of these services and could encourage cuts to these critical services.
- The 65 percent rule takes away the autonomy of individual schools that have legitimate reasons to direct resources differently than the formula prescribes.
- Schools can meet the rule’s requirements without improving student performance at all, or meet the requirements even as student performance declines.
- If the State were to impose or encourage new non-instructional spending, such as the installation of security cameras or metal detectors to improve safety, districts somehow would have to raise an additional $2 for each dollar spent to meet the new safety obligations, tripling the total cost of the new mandate.
Read the full report: 100 Percent Phony