Frequently Asked Questions about the School Choice Amendment and the Open Enrollment Amendment
School Choice Amendment
A School Choice Account is a savings account, administered by a nonprofit organization chosen by the parent, into which the state will deposit a portion of Oregon’s education dollars. With a School Choice Account, parents may customize their child’s education and direct that the education dollars be spent on various nonpublic educational options such as private school tuition, home school curriculum, educational therapy, tutors, computers, transportation, vocational schools, and other approved educational costs for their child.
Any Oregon resident student who is eligible for enrollment or is already enrolled in an Oregon K-12 public school may choose to opt out of public school and request a School Choice Account.
The money to fund the School Choice Accounts will come from the CAT, lottery, income taxes, and property taxes Oregon citizens already pay. The legislature allocates a portion of those taxes to be used for education. An 80% portion of these taxes, on a per student basis, will be transferred to the School Choice Account. The remaining 20% will still be used for public schools in the same manner it was used before. The Amendment will not take any of the federal funds, levies, bonds, special grants, or statutory or special carve-outs that the public schools receive.
Home schooled students may choose to participate in the benefits and protections of a School Choice Account. If their parents opt out of public school and request a School Choice Account, Oregon education dollars will be deposited into their School Choice Account at the nonprofit organization of their choosing. The homeschool parents may then customize their child’s education and direct that those education dollars be spent on the items needed to educate their child such as curriculum, tutors, educational therapy, etc. Once the state’s education dollars are deposited into the School Choice Account, the education dollars are NO longer public funds, breaking the string between public funds and government regulation. The School Choice Amendment gives home schooling families protection from government regulation: parents who choose to have a School Choice Account cannot be forced to change their creed, teaching credentials or qualifications, curricula, or education practices. Click here for more info.
School Choice allows Oregon education dollars to follow the student, and goes to the schools and services that best fit the educational needs of the student. School Choice breaks the barrier between where you live and access to quality education. Any student, regardless of income level or address, may choose to withdraw from public school and receive funds to pay for nonpublic educational options.
For privately schooled families, parents may choose to opt out of their public school attendance zone and request a School Choice Account. Oregon education dollars will be deposited into the Account, administered by the nonprofit organization chosen by the parent. The parent may direct that the money be used to pay for private school tuition, uniform, education therapist, and other education items for the student.
School choice programs encourage public schools to innovate and improve to meet the public students’ needs. According to the Milton Friedman organization “EdChoice,” of the 26 studies that examine the competitive effects of school choice programs on public schools, 24 found positive effects. School Choice programs help the most important stakeholders in education: the students. Click here for more info.
During the pandemic, many students with special needs suffered because they were denied the in-person education services they needed when their public schools were closed. These special needs students may now need special tutoring or therapies to get them back on track. Parents of special needs students may use the funds in their School Choice Account to purchase a wide variety of special education services. Through the use of School Choice Accounts, families may customize the education for their children by including unique features like private tutors, technological devices, educational services and therapies.
Yes. If home school parents no longer wish to participate in the benefits and protections of the School Choice Amendment, the parents only need to provide written notice to the state agency overseeing education that they wish to terminate their School Choice Account. Home school parents will then need to rely on the legislative exception to compulsory attendance in public school to continue to home school their children.
Open Enrollment Amendment
Each Oregon resident student who is eligible to attend Oregon K-12 public schools, who is not then subject to expulsion or suspension, has the right throughout the year to choose any public school, including charter school.
Each school district shall make readily and easily available detailed information about the statewide, year-round open enrollment application process.
The school will give the students living in that district priority, as normally occurs. Then, any students from a different school within that same district get second priority. And finally, any students from outside that school district who wish to attend that school will be entered into an equitable lottery so each student receives an equal opportunity to be chosen.
Yes, the Open Enrollment Amendment gives parents the chance to send their child to any public or charter school across Oregon that has classroom or program space.
No, we are not changing how Oregon Public Schools operate. Except as required by federal law, the chosen school district shall not be required to provide transportation outside the attendance zone of that chosen school district.