School board association’s PERS reform plan deserves support

Mike McLane

Rep. Mike McLane

Imagine you will have 10 percent more income for the next two years. Your raise comes on the heels of another 10 percent increase you just enjoyed. I think we would all be pretty excited.

That is where Oregon finds itself for the next budget, with an additional $1.7 billion to spend, the equivalent of $400 for every citizen.

For Democrats it isn’t enough. Their proposed budget calls for $275 million in tax increases and increasing Oregon’s already high debt. Further, they want only cosmetic changes to the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) which is burying our local schools, police and fire departments in additional employee costs.

The Republican budget is dramatically different. Republicans want to plan for the future with reasonable, long-term reform of PERS, to save money for the future by setting aside money for a rainy day, and to live within our means.

The Republican budget reverses a 10-year trend of declining investment in K-12 education by increasing funding for local schools by 14 percent. In addition, we support the Oregon School Boards Association’s PERS reform plan, which is comprehensive and solves the true problems with PERS. It will mean even more buying power for local schools by saving them from skyrocketing PERS costs.

Together, the Republican education budget and reasonable PERS reform will mean more teachers in our classrooms, more school days, and smaller classes.

In the end, we must ask ourselves, “Did we fix PERS?” Standing with our school boards is the only way to answer “Yes.”

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