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September 30, 2013
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Letter: Restore our local control over educating our children

Local school district control

The Oregon Constitution (Art. VIII, Sect. 3 — Olsen vs State, 1976) says the Legislative Assembly shall provide a minimum of educational opportunities, and then shall permit the districts to exercise local control over what they desire and can furnish over that minimum. At the same time, OR Revised Statutes (332-072-1965) says district school boards have control of the district schools and are responsible for educating the children of that district.

Oregon supplies about two-thirds of local school funding, mostly from statewide income taxes. Local sources, mostly local property taxes, supply the other third. One would think that according to the Oregon Constitution, the funding the state provides represents that “minimum of educational opportunities,” and that which the local district provides represents what the local sources “can furnish over that minimum.” It would also seem that the Oregon school system is or should be set up such that state and local school boards have independent control only over the educational opportunities that can be supplied by their special funding.

Our Roseburg school board often proclaims it is required by law to carry out the legal demands of the state whether or not the state supplies the necessary funding. It appears, then, that the state has continued to demand unfunded local activities until all funding, both state and local, are used up — nothing is left for the locals to furnish “what they desire,” and nothing is left over which the districts can exercise “local control.” Does this mean our local board cannot in any way “represent” us local people (who elected them), and that they are in no way “responsible for educating our children?”

A local organization, the Voice of School Families, is trying to correct this. Wanna help? See

Owen W. Dykema


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The News-Review Updated Oct 14, 2013 12:56PM Published Oct 10, 2013 07:20PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.