There’s been a resurgence of interest in the effects of Measure 5, the property tax cap measure that is widely credited with defunding Oregon’s schools.
Measure 5 was passed in 1990, and was proposed as a property tax cap and limit. Proponents of this measure failed to mention that the policy would also severely cut public school funding while shifting decisions from local officials to state lawmakers. With limited funds and far-removed politicians making decisions how to use them, school funding has faced troubling trends in the ensuing decades.
Measure 5 led to other, property tax cap policies, further hindering Oregon’s education funding. And so while there were many factors and policies that exacerbated the school funding problem, it’s telling that teachers, parents, students, and education advocates saw a clear shift in school funding beginning with Measure 5.
Measure 5 had real, direct, and negative impacts on schools’ abilities. Straight from the source:
We’re in a real crisis, and it needs fixing. In fact, fixing Oregon’s K-12 education system is, in all likelihood, the most important priority in front of today’s state government.
We could start by reigning in tax breaks for corporations and redirecting those funds to schools. (And we have the opportunity to vote on that exact measure this November in Ballot Measure 85.) But we’re going to need to do more. It took more than one election to create — which means it’s going to take more than one election to get out of it.