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Oregon lawmakers consider cutting Measure 98 funding

North Medford High School, Jan. 26th 2017, (KTVL/Megan Allison)

MEDFORD -- Improving graduation rates is the goal for both the Medford School District and Measure 98.

The measure passed with requirements for statewide career-technical education, college credit courses, and dropout prevention programs. Medford's superintendent says his school district was relying on this funding to expand college prep programs. But as lawmakers try and balance the state deficit, this funding might not go into effect.

"We could have a lot more in-depth, high tech programming and advanced manufacturing. Robotics, computer programing, as well as build some of our other pathways like pre-law, pre-education, pre-medicine," superintendent Brian Shumate said.

Before Medford's graduation rates were at 65 percent. Now, that number is closer to 80 percent. The principal at North Medford High School said they need career-based programs to keep students engaged.

"Kids sometimes feel disheartened. To find something that really is relevant and meaningful for them in high school," Dan Smith said.

Measure 98's proposal is $800 per high school student. For Medford School District, that's more than $2 million.

"We've been going along for years on just the standard funding formula that comes out of the state. And what has happened over a long period of time is we have dwindled resources for those programs," Smith said.

Medford Schools are looking to add career-based programs either way, but Shumate said Measure 98 funding would help speed up the process.

Measure 98 is an amendment to state law. Because it's not under the Oregon Constitution, it can be changed by the legislature. This could mean reductions in the funding residents voted on, or delays to the original time table.


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