Measure 98 Is an Unfunded Mandate
The ballot summary is as follows:
“Currently, the Oregon legislature provides General Fund revenues to the State School Fund based on constitutionally required quality goals; those funds are distributed directly to school districts under a specified formula. Measure requires legislature to separately provide at least $800 per high school student—adjusted upward annually for inflation/population—to a Department of Education (ODE) administered account. ODE distributes those funds to school districts to establish or expand high school programs providing career-technical education, college-level courses, and dropout-prevention strategies. School districts must apply for grants, meet specified requirements. Districts may use limited portion of fund for administration costs but not unrelated activities. ODE monitors school district performance, ensures compliance, facilitates programs; Secretary of State audits biannually.
Click on the image for a printable poster.
Surrogates of M 98 will say that it isn't an unfunded mandate. It is unfunded, they say, but it isn't a mandate. Schools don't have to apply for it. But, if they don't apply, they will lose funding apportioned to their district. That's just semantics.
M 98 is an unfunded mandate. If schools want to apply for a grant for funding that may or may not be available, they must fill out an application, ascribing to specific rules. At some point, an administrator from the state will decide the fate of the application, and either fund it or not. Not every project will be funded. If a school's application is not funded, the school may apply again the next year, but it will lose its apportioned amount for that year. There will be winners -- and there will be loses when a school's application is turned down.