The Beaverton School District is calling on parents and community members to make their voices heard with the Oregon Legislature.
Superintendent Don Grotting sent out an email alert last week asking families to call or email their lawmakers about the need for better school funding.
The district is facing a potential $15 million budget cut next school year, due largely to increasing costs for the Public Employees Retirement System. The Legislature is considering a business sales tax that would bring in more revenue for schools — but the forthcoming state budget is still expected to provide somewhere between $7.8 billion and $8.1 billion for schools, a disappointing figure for Beaverton.
Anne Bryan, chair of the district's board of directors, sent a letter to state lawmakers last week imploring them to come up with a solution for more school funding — quickly. Bryan said the board is open to a number of different options that would lead to better school funding from the state, and added, "this is a solution we can get behind."
"As a board, we have for many years had a priority of ours to advocate for sustainable and sufficient funding for schools," Bryan told the Times. "When we saw plans that were at least being discussed at the Legislature in terms of getting us on a path toward sustainable and sufficient funding, we wanted to let our legislative team know, as well as the legislators in Salem, that we fully support that and it's a discussion worth having."
Even if the business tax reform does not pass in time to support this round of budgeting, Bryan said she's heartened to see it considered at all.
"This is really what I would consider to be the first time they're having conversations to really reach that goal (of sustainable school funding)," she said. "I see that as a huge step forward."
Bryan also said that the best way for Beaverton residents to support the call for better school funding would be to write and email their representatives, and to engage their friends and family all over the state.
"I really believe that this is a state-wide conversation," she said. "This is going to be an important discussion for all of Oregon."