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Take A Ride On Oregon's School Funding Roller Coaster

Pendleton Superintendent Jon Peterson (right) and Pendleton High School principal Dan Greenough look over a storage lot next to the high school. It used to be full of student projects. With the wood shop closed, there's little here.
Rob Manning
/
OPB
Pendleton Superintendent Jon Peterson (right) and Pendleton High School principal Dan Greenough look over a storage lot next to the high school. It used to be full of student projects. With the wood shop closed, there's little here.

In the early 1990s, voters in Oregon were feeling some tax anxiety.

Property values were rising, and many worried that also meant a rise in property taxes. And so, with something called Measure 5, they capped them.

Since schools depend heavily on property taxes, Oregon did something unique. The state decided to use income tax revenue to help offset the effect of this new property-tax cap.

There's just one problem: In tough economic times, income is more volatile than property values. And so began a roller coaster for Oregon's schools.

For more about the effects on Pendleton High School and the rest of the schools in the state, click here.

The story of Oregon's school funding challenges is part of the NPR reporting project School Money, a nationwide collaboration between NPR's Ed Team and 20 member station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rob Manning has been both a reporter and an on-air host at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Before that, he filled both roles with local community station KBOO and nationally with Free Speech Radio News. He's also published freelance print stories with Portland's alternative weekly newspaper Willamette Week and Planning Magazine. In 2007, Rob received two awards for investigative reporting from the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and he was part of the award-winning team responsible for OPB's "Hunger Series." His current beats range from education to the environment, sports to land-use planning, politics to housing.
Rob Manning

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