What it does: Measure 98 requires that a portion of new state revenue go toward educational programs aimed at improving the state’s graduation rate. About 74 percent of Oregon high school students graduate in four years, according to the Oregon Department of Education.
In the absence of a governmental effort to boost the graduation rate, Stand for Children, former Gov. Ted Kulongoski and the Latino Network teamed up to get the Oregonians for High School Success Initiative on the ballot. The measure would dedicate at least $800 per student to programs aimed at dropout prevention and career and college readiness. In 2017-18, that would amount to an estimated $147 million for high school programs.
The Oregon Department of Education would be responsible for divvying out the money to school districts through a grant application process and monitoring performance of the programs. The measure also requires the Secretary of State’s Office to audit the use of the funds every two years.
The measure includes a safety valve that allows for a smaller prorated allocation when new state revenue falls below $1.5 billion in a particular year.
No organized opposition has formed to defeat the measure, but the Oregon Education Association has declined to endorse the measure, calling it a “one-size-fits-all” response to a larger problem.