Proposed changes to Measure 98 mandate scrapped - for now

Debates over deficit heat up at Legislature

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A proposal to alter a voter-approved mandate for college-prep, vocational and dropout prevention funding in Oregon high schools effectively failed this week in Salem, at least for now.

Debates are heating up over Oregon's looming $1.6 billion budget deficit as the second half of the 2017 session begins, and the $300 million high school spending requirement set forth in Measure 98 is among the many areas still on the table for cuts.

Disagreements over Measure 98 - approved by voters 2 to 1 in November as a way to pull statewide graduation rates from the nation's bottom ranks - aren't just about money, either.

It's a political clash between the teachers union, which sees the measure as a threat to schools' autonomy, and the corporate-backed nonprofit group behind the measure, which says monitoring how the money is spent is necessary for measuring whether graduation rates are improving.

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