Oregon Ballot Measures: Measure 98, 99 pass

A major education spending proposal, overshadowed on the fall ballot by a contentious fight over corporate taxes, appeared headed to an easy victory according to partial returns Tuesday.

Measure 98, leading 65 percent to 34 percent, was billed as an antidote for Oregon's 74 percent high school graduation rate, third-worst in the nation.

It will pump $150 million a year, roughly $800 per student, into a fund to help high schools drive graduation rates higher.

Schools would get that money by mixing three strategies shown to make a difference: adding career-technical courses, providing more college credit classes, and doing more with dropout intervention programs.

The measure had no organized opposition, though teachers unions have opposed past attempts to set rules on how state money is spent. Polls showed the measure with strong support in the election's final weeks.

In other results:

Measure 99: A proposal to set aside Oregon Lottery revenue, not to exceed $22 million a year, to fund Outdoor School appeared to be leading in early returns, 65 percent to 34 percent. The money would be a fraction of the $1 billion the lottery brings in every two years, but it nonetheless comes at the expense of funding for economic development.

Proponents say Outdoor School, founded in 1957, is a treasure that all young Oregonians should experience. But uncertain funding — some districts choose not to fund the program when budgets are tight — means some students attend shortened programs or miss out altogether.

Measure 96: Another measure tapping lottery revenue, this time to help close gaps in services for Oregon's roughly 350,000 veterans, was winning 83 percent to 16 percent in incomplete returns.

Measure 96, which emerged from the Legislature with bipartisan support, would divert 1.5 percent of the Oregon Lottery's net proceeds, or roughly $19 million every two years. The money would help veterans access state and federal benefits, as well as programs for employment, education, housing, health care and treatment.

Measure 100: Animal advocates who asked Oregon voters to ban sales of parts from several animals, including elephants, rhinoceroses and sharks, appeared to be getting their wish in early returns Tuesday.

Measure 100 was leading 70 percent to 29 percent. Certain antiques and musical instruments would be exempt from the sales ban.

Measure 95: Early returns show voters appear to be saying yes to a proposal giving Oregon's seven public universities permission to invest state funds and tuition money in the stock market to raise revenue. Measure 95, leading 70 percent to 29 percent, exempts universities from a constitutional ban that keeps state agencies from investing in stocks.

Measure 94: A proposal that would undo the state's mandatory retirement age for judges — who must step down at age 75 — appeared headed to defeat, 37 percent to 62 percent, according to partial returns.