Week Packed with Committee Meetings

Department of Energy Oversight Committee – Still No Answers

The committee met earlier this week.  Again the presenter was the director of the department, Michael Kaplan.  Mr. Kaplan discussed with committee members the results of the evaluation of their IT and data systems.  The department essentially has 35 years of “bad data” partly due to inadequate systems within the department that do not integrate with one another. Some data is inadequate, some data may be duplicative and some is simply unusable.

A concern that I raised was the transfer of “bad data” to a new system, which would not make it “good data” because what you put in is what you get out.   Other members of the committee expressed concerns about archiving the old data.  When the department updates its computer systems how will the old data be stored and accessed?  Is the data even compatible with new computer systems?  Will the department have to maintain two data systems (old and new)?

Again, to his credit, Mr. Kaplan was very forthcoming with his department’s shortcomings.  That is refreshing. 

With all of the presentations and testimony complete, the committee now moves onto develop our recommendations. 

The next meeting for this committee is scheduled for August 29th at 9am in the Capitol.

 Joint Interim Task Force on Class Sizes

I was recently appointed to this committee.  The committee is tasked with determining appropriate class sizes for students, identifying methods to reduce class sizes and determining the cost for the methods to reduce class sizes.  The committee is made of 15 members that represent various areas of K-12 education such as teachers, school board members, district superintendents, employee bargaining leaders and elected officials.

At the committee meeting earlier this week it was troubling to hear that there are no current studies on the impacts of class room size in Oregon.  The testimony that was provided to the committee cited a study that was conducted in California in 2001.  The committee also heard testimony about the changes that have occurred as class sizes have increased such as the reduction of behavioral specialists and special education teachers in schools. 

The current standard for special education teachers in schools is 3 FTE (full time equivalent) for a school with a student population of 300 -400.  The norm in Oregon is 1 FTE for a school with a population of 500+. 

I believe we have a responsibility to look at all options for reducing class sizes.  I look forward to working with the members of this committee.  

If you have thoughts you would like to share about how you believe we can reduce class sizes in Oregon, please reach out to me via e-mail, phone call or letter.  I welcome your thoughts.  

The next committee meeting is scheduled for 07/27/16 at 9:00am in the Capitol.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Representative.

REMINDER – Canvassing Tomorrow

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Would you help me?  I am going to be canvassing some neighborhoods in South Salem on Saturday, July 23rdWe will start at 9am and be done by 11am.  We will meet in the Walmart parking lot (5250 Commercial St Se, Salem, OR 97306).  

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