Beaverton tells parents to plan for possible school closures on May 8
UPDATE: Beaverton School District announced it will cancel school on May 8 in light of the planned walkout. Some testing and free meals will still be offered.
Beaverton School District officials announced May 8 will be a "non-student day" in light of a planned teacher walkout that day.
The Oregon Education Association announced the planned "day of action" rally as one event in a recent series of rallies and protests to demand more K-12 education funding from state lawmakers.
Teachers and school district employees across the state are planning to skip work at the start of school on May 8 to "send the message that it's time to fix the funding shortage in our schools," the union said. In some districts, like Beaverton and Portland, school administrators decided not to hold classes that day, citing an inability to "safely operate schools."
Because of the walkout, schools in Portland will shut down.
Beaverton first told parents to prepare for potential school closures, but later announced the decision to cancel classes, after it became clear that the majority of BSD educators planned to participate in the walkout.
Don Grotting, superintendent of the Beaverton School District, sent a letter to parents and guardians Wednesday, April 17.
"We want to let our families know in advance so they can develop contingency plans if we are unable to safely operate schools," Grotting stated.
In Portland, the walkout will find teachers heading down to Tom McCall Waterfront Park for a rally at 11 a.m. that day.
Beaverton officials say advanced placement and international baccalaureate testing will continue as planned, while information for scheduled athletic activities still is being determined.
Beaverton school teachers are represented by the Beaverton Education Association.
"Decades of disinvestment in education has resulted in unacceptable learning conditions for Oregon students," a statement on the BEA website reads. "Our state has fallen short of adequately funding schools for the last 30 years."
The planned walkout comes on the heels of a rally held by educators in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square on April 10 to call attention to inadequate budget funding for schools. That rally saw strong turnout from employees in Washington County school districts like Beaverton and Hillsboro.
In response to the state's proposed budget for schools in the next biennium, educators are calling for state legislators to support the Student Success Act. The act, House Bill 2019, would add $2 billion to K-12 education in the 2019-21 biennium to bolster early learning programs, reduced class sizes and improved graduation rates via school improvement grants.
The budget for schools includes more money than the previous funding round, but teacher unions say it isn't enough to properly fund schools and classrooms.
Here's what you need to know about the event
What: Possible school closures in response to planned teacher walkouts
When: Normal school start time, Wednesday, May 8
Where: In Portland, rally will take place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park downtown, with similar action happening in communities throughout the state
Why: Educators are rallying to demand better funding from Oregon for its public schools
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