A planned teacher walkout scheduled to happen Wednesday, May 8, was the cause of an emergency school board meeting held Tuesday. The Lake Oswego School Board decided unanimously to cancel school May 8; Portland Public Schools made the same decision last week.
Superintendent Michael Musick informed parents and guardians of the decision in an email announcement Tuesday night.
"Based on my recommendation, the Lake Oswego School Board decided unanimously to cancel school May 8," Musick said. "Lake Oswego School District teachers will join their counterparts across Oregon to raise awareness for the lack of stable K-12 public education funding from the state. The LOSD school board and I understand the frustration of the faculty, staff and our community with regards to public funding for all Oregon students and we support our teachers in their efforts for change."
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 May 8 to "send the message that it's time to fix the funding shortage in our schools," the union stated.
The LO School Board said their decision was based on student safety — there simply will not be enough teachers in the building to ensure the safety of the students.
Musick elaborated on that point in his message to the LOSD community.
"Due to the number of staff absences anticipated on that day and the number of substitutes required to fill those positions, we are not able to ensure safe and adequate supervision for our students," Musick said. "At this time, we are determining what services and activities may safely occur on May 8. This may include athletics, extended day, community schools, AP testing and other activities. More information will be shared in the coming days."
The motion to cancel school May 8 was made by board member Liz Hartman, and passed unanimously by the board.
"We all support better funding, permanent funding, and we wish the community could go down with our employees and make it known to the legislature," said board chair Bob Barman, speaking for the board. "Kids in this state need proper funding so we can give the education they need."
The district must now decide the best course of action for making up the missed educational hours. Hartman's motion also gave Superintendent Michael Musick the authority to negotiate with the Lake Oswego Education Association, which represents district teachers, how to best schedule the makeup hours.
"We are in conversations with the teachers' association on how to make up the instructional time for our students," Musick said. "LOSD will notify you as soon as possible about those plans moving forward."
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