There are two statewide ballot measures on upcoming Oregon election ballots.  While neither measure has any organized opposition, I still feel that it is important to know what we are voting for, and to actually vote for it.

The first of these is Ballot Measure 68.  Measure 68 would add a new article to the Oregon Constitution, permitting the state to raise matching money through general obligation bonds for local school district projects, much as it does now for community college and university construction.   Currently, the state helps to pay for major projects in the local school districts, but must do so out of general funds.  This measure will allow them to issue bonds to finance these projects.  This will result in a less expensive interest rate for the state, and save us all money in the long run.  It would only be used if the voters in a local school district have also approved a bond measure for building, remodeling, maintaining, or repairing the school or its grounds.

Bonds are generally used for the financing of building construction, but all other expenses come out of the school’s operating budget.  With Measure 68, districts will be able to use bond money to buy equipment such as desks and book shelves, pave parking lots, and do other maintenance which they now finance with operating money.  This should free up more of that money for paying for teachers and books and day-to-day education costs.

The measure also creates a matching fund, where the state puts money into a fund for these expenditures until it is needed by the local schools.  This will allow the state to save money over the years for a time when a school needs to be built or repaired.  It helps to keep schools operating, even in times like today when we can’t really afford to be spending too much money.

This measure doesn’t really change a lot about how we pay for schools in Oregon.  It does not add new taxes to what we have to pay.  It simply opens up new, less expensive options for paying for these school expenses.  This measure does not cost us any money, but it will modernize the law to allow us to save money.

Join me in voting YES on Oregon Ballot Measure 68.