Oregon Board of Education tackles parent choice and virtual schools

Kimberly Melton

Fewer than one percent of Oregon students are enrolled in online public schools. But for nearly five years, the funding, quality and financial management of these virtual schools have been dominating conversation in State Capitol hearing rooms and school district board rooms.
In Oregon, education dollars follow the students. And this issue pits parent choice against school district stability.
Initially, each of six members of the state board suggested slightly different solutions. After nearly three hours of discussion, however, most board members said they would support parent choice but only if there was a cap on how many students could leave an individual school district.
“Parents should have the option to transfer,” said board chairwoman Brenda Frank. “I don’t believe the district has all the answers. But I think there just needs to be a gate.”