Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
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.

Education Officials Mull Costs As Oregon Districts Prepare To Test For Lead

Wikimedia -

Oregon school districts are preparing to test for the presence of lead as a result of new rules proposed by Gov. Kate Brown. Members of the Oregon Board of Education Thursday signaled a desire to move quickly on the proposal.

When the Board of Education heard the proposed rules, one of their first questions was how quickly can it be done? Another question: How much will it cost?

Legislative leaders have signaled a willingness to help schools pay for the lead tests. But Oregon Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Salam Noor said the real question is how much it will cost to fix any problems the tests find.

"There really isn't any way to predict that,” Noor said. “Because then you start to get into the actual structures and the infrastructure that we have in our state relative to school and district facilities, and we just need to have a little bit of time to really measure the magnitude of repairs that will be required."

The proposal comes after several Portland schools found high lead levels in drinking fountains and faucets.

Schools are already in the process of developing plans to test for radon under a bill approved by Oregon lawmakers in 2015.