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Dropout prevention measure qualifies for ballot

The measure would give high schools about $147 million a year -

OREGONIANS FOR HIGH SCHOOL SUCCESS - Supporters of Initiative Petition 65 rally outside of the Capitol and Secretary of State's Elections Division June 23, 2016, to celebrate turning in signatures in support of the proposed measure. The initative would boost funding for high school dropout prevention, career technical education and college readiness programs.SALEM — An initiative to dedicate more state funding to high school dropout prevention and career and technical education has qualified for the November ballot, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

The campaign for Initiative Petition 65, Oregonians for High School Success Initiative, gathered 101,302 valid signatures, 13,118 more than the 88,184-signature threshold.

The ballot measure allocates one-sixth of new state revenue to high school dropout prevention, college readiness and career technical education programs.

“Every Oregon high school should provide students with real world skills and hands-on professional training that connects to local good paying jobs, and students should have better access to college level classes,” said Peter Zuckerman, a spokesperson for the IP 65 campaign. “This measure will do these things.”

The measure would infuse high schools with about $147 million a year. That amount would be significantly greater if voters also approve a controversial corporate sale tax measure in November, which levies a 2.5 percent tax on the Oregon sales exceeding $25 million of certain corporations.

The deadline to turn in signatures was July 8, but the Secretary of State’s Office has until the first week of August to verify all of the signatures.

Former Gov. Ted Kulongoski, LaToya Fick, executive director of Stand for Children and Carmen Rubio, executive director of the Latino Network, spearheaded the campaign for IP 65 in hopes of boosting the state’s lackluster graduation rate.

Only about 74 percent of students in Oregon graduate from high school in four years, one of the lowest rates in the nation. And 75 percent of Oregon high school students who go straight to community college have to take remedial classes, according to the national Institute of Education Sciences.

The Coalition of Communities of Color and the Oregon School Boards Association have endorsed the measure.

There is no organized opposition to the measure, but the Oregon Education Association has declined to support the measure.

Instead, OEA is campaigning for passage of the corporate sales tax measure, Initiative Petition 28. The tax measure would yield about $3 billion in additional revenue each year for education and other state services.

The political action committee, Oregonians for High School Success, has already has raised $4.2 million to campaign in support of IP 65.