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Board members visit the capitol to meet with lawmakers and advocate for full K-12 funding

The Canby School District board of directors took a field trip to the capitol to meet with elected officials and to advocate for fully funding schools.

The group Oregonians for Student Success had organized several lobby days to connect locals with lawmakers and to fight for full education funding. Canby's board was unable to attend the Clackamas County residents' lobby day, so board member Angi Dilkes arranged a special visit.

On Wednesday, April 3, the board members went to Salem and met separately with Governor Kate Brown, Treasurer Tobias Read and Representative Christine Drazan, according to Board Chair Rob Sheveland.

"Our goals were to understand where lawmakers are in the budget process, reinforce the need to fully fund K-12 education and gain any insights we could into anticipated school funding levels," Sheveland said. "Governor Brown has offered an ambitious budget plan for K-12 education. We were interested in learning the likelihood of her initiatives coming to fruition and how they may impact our students in Canby."

COURTESY PHOTO: CANBY SCHOOL DISTRICT - School board members meet with Governor Kate Brown during their visit to the capitol April 3. Pictured from left to right are: Sara Magenheimer, Rob Sheveland, Diane Downs, Tom Scott, Brown, Mike Zagyva, Angi Dilkes Perry, Andrea Weber and Superintedent Trip Goodall.

The board's visit comes at a pivotal time, as the legislature recently released its proposed funding at $100 million less than Brown's proposed budget and continues to work toward an official budget by June. But there is also now a house bill on the table, the Student Success Act, which, if successful, would create a dedicated revenue stream for education coming from a business tax.

Educators across the state are organizing efforts to fight for full funding. Oregon Education Association President John Larson called on educators, families and other interested community members to stand up for students on May 8, a request that may result in teachers walking out of their classrooms that day.

Drazan, who is fully immersed in the education budget process as a member of the Ways and Means Education Subcommittee, recently expressed a desire to prioritize education funding and to work together with districts to effectively use every dollar.

Sheveland maintained that Canby School District is doing its part to be fiscally responsible and respectfully suggested the legislature ought to do its part.

"This is all part of the work we have to do to meet the needs of all students," Sheveland said. "We appreciated the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations about how to best utilize taxpayer dollars when it comes to educating our children. One of our board priorities is to ensure effect use of resources, and we take this responsibility very seriously. We manage every dollar with the direct benefit to students in mind."

He continued, "Our legislature must do the same and work toward fully funding K-12 education."

Kristen Wohlers
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