Constitutional Provisions

Blaine Amendment

“No money shall be drawn from the Treasury for the benefit of any religeous [sic], or theological institution, nor shall any money be appropriated for the payment of any religeous [sic] services in either house of the Legislative Assembly.” Oregon Const. Art. I, § 5.

Vouchers: Yes

Tax Credits: Yes

Existing Private School Choice Programs


Relevant Case Law

Eugene Sand & Gravel, Inc. v. City of Eugene, 276 Or. 1007 (Or. 1076)

The Oregon Supreme Court adopted the federal Lemon test for resolving challenges under its Blaine Amendment.

Oregon courts have continued this parallel interpretation of the federal Establishment Clause and Section 5 ever since.

Powell v. Blum, 185 Or. App. 334 (2002)

The Oregon Court of Appeals rejected abandonment of the parallel interpretation, interpreting Oregon’s Religion Clauses as intended to maintain neutrality toward religion.

Dickman v. School District, 366 P.2d 533 (Or. 1961)

The Oregon Supreme Court held that secular textbooks could not be supplied to parochial school students at public expense under Oregon’s Blaine Amendment.

Fisher v. Clackamas County School District, 507 P.2d 839 (Or. Ct. App. 1973)

Applying the reasoning of Dickman, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that Oregon’s Blaine Amendment prevented the state from paying the salaries of teachers who teach secular subjects to parochial school students only.

Analysis and Recommendations

Tax credit and voucher programs are both options for Oregon. Both are consistent with the federal Establishment Clause, with which the Oregon courts maintain a parallel interpretation of the state’s Blaine Amendment.

Model Legislation: Education Savings Account, Parental School Choice Scholarship Program (Universal Eligibility), Parental School Choice Scholarship Program (Means-Tested Eligibility), Special Needs Scholarship Program, Foster Child Scholarship Program, Great School Tax Credit Program, Autism Scholarship, Family Education Tax Credit Program

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