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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon K-12 Budget Hits Legislative Roadblock

M.O. Stevens
Wikimedia -

The largest portion of the Oregon state spending plan hit a major roadblock in the legislature Monday.

The budget for K-12 schools failed on the Senate floor after one Democrat joined with all of the Republicans to vote against it. Now, legislative leaders are figuring out what to do next.

The proposal would have meant $1 billion increase for schools. Veteran lawmaker, Democrat Rod Monroe, called it a major step forward. "I've been doing school budgets one way or the other for over 40 years. And this is the strongest and soundest K-12 budget I have ever seen."

But not enough of Monroe's Senate colleagues agreed with him. One Democrat joined all 14 Republicans to vote against the plan. That resulted in a 15-15 tie. Opponents to the spending plan say they want additional cuts to the Oregon public pension system as a way of boosting the spending power for schools.

What happens next is unclear. Lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn next week, but the deadlock over the schools budget could delay that.