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Apr-23-2012 22:44printcomments

Our Oregon Begins Signature Gathering on Corporate Kicker Reform

Initiative Petition 35 would finally send kicker funds to K-12 schools.

Oregon schools photo by Tim King

(PORTLAND, OR) - Our Oregon is launching a signature gathering effort to qualify an initiative for the November ballot that would send money to K-12 classrooms by reforming the corporate “kicker” refund.

For more than a decade, school advocates, teachers, and parents have talked about the need for kicker reform. Reforming the corporate kicker and putting those dollars back into our classrooms is an idea that has broad support.

“The corporate kicker has long been described as costly and irresponsible,” says Our Oregon Director Patrick Green. “Initiative Petition 35 is an opportunity for everyone who cares about schools to come together and finally do something about it.”

Volunteer signature gathering on the initiative will begin as early as this weekend.

“Right now, Oregon’s K-12 students are facing a crisis of classroom overcrowding. Thousands of teachers have lost their jobs, and districts are closing neighborhood schools,” says Grant High parent and volunteer Otto Schell. “Parents across the state know that we’ve got to get more funding into our classrooms. It is long past the time when we need to prioritize our students and schools and give them the support that all children deserve.”

As much as 80% of the money from the corporate kicker goes to large, out-of-state corporations.* We should invest those dollars in our K-12 classrooms, rather than sending the money to the out-of-state headquarters of large corporations.

“Most small businesses have suffered from cuts to our schools,” says Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic. “In the auto repair industry, I’ve seen the impacts of cuts to vocational training programs, which have been largely wiped out around the state.”

“Whether you’re in small business, whether you’re a parent or a teacher, or whether you’re an advocate for schools, it’s impossible to not be affected by these deep budget cuts, ” Houser adds. “Reforming the corporate kicker is a strong step toward making our schools a priority.”

Initiative Petition 35 will give Oregonians the opportunity to vote their priorities, and it has the potential to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for our classrooms.

* Legislative Revenue Office estimate

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.