Conger seeks hearing on PERS reform bill

Backs school boards' plan as way to add teachers

SALEM, Ore. - State Rep. Jason Conger (R-Bend) urged the Legislature on Tuesday to provide more funding for Oregon classrooms and to give the Oregon School Boards Association PERS reform bill a public hearing.

"Oregon's education system is struggling: we have cut roughly 7,000 teachers in the past three years, shortened the school year, and class sizes so large that children are sometimes forced to sit on the floor," Conger said.  "We have to change this failing paradigm and invest in our kids and our future."

Conger went on to discuss what he considers the shortcomings of the co-chairs' budget and the opportunity to provide more funding with the plan put forward by the Oregon School Board Association.

The OSBA proposal is a package of PERS reforms, including the concepts put forward by Gov. Kitzhaber, that would save $1.3 billion in the next budget cycle alone.

"The additional funding from OSBA's plan would allow schools to hire more than 5,000 new teachers with money left over - without raising taxes one penny," Conger said. "This is a much larger funding package for our schools, and I would urge the Democrats to at least give the bill a public hearing."

"PERS reform needs to be openly and publicly debated -- it is simply not good enough to stick our head in the sand again this year," he added. "The children who are trapped in under-performing schools, parents that are worried about their child's education, and 5,000 teachers deserve an answer."

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