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Advocates Renew Push For Measure 98 Implementation

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Supporters of a voter-approved ballot measure on high school education are pressing hard for Oregon lawmakers to fully fund the initiative. But the state's budget shortfall makes that far from certain.

Measure 98 directs state funding to high school programs for dropout prevention, college readiness and career training. It passed by a wide margin last November.

Republican Rep. Mark Johnson was one of nearly a dozen speakers at a state Capitol press conference in support of the initiative.

"I think that the voters of Oregon were clear in that they wanted some strategic investments and strategic and proven programs to help kids graduate,” Johnson said.

House Speaker Tina Kotek said she wants to honor the will of the voters.

"I will be honest, though. I don't know how you fund the whole thing for the biennium from our existing revenue,” she said.

Kotek offered one possibility: Fund the program expansions, but only for the second half of the two-year budget cycle.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.