Stand for students, stable school funding
On May 8, 2019, educators from around Oregon will be participating in a day of action, using our collective voices to demand better, more stable funding for our schools.
In the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, we educators will be proud to stand up for our students, and students across Oregon, by participating in this historic event.
For the past 30 years, state funding for education in Oregon has been eroded, leading to larger class sizes; fewer extra-curricular opportunities for students; unrealistic caseloads for counselors, psychologists, nurses, and speech language pathologists; and reductions in music, PE, art, and library programs in some areas.
Oregon's required school year is only 165 days, far lower than the national average of 180 days. The gap between Oregon's current funding and the funding recommended by the bipartisan Quality Education Model (QEM) has remained consistently high, at nearly $2 billion for the 2017-19 biennium.
We, in West Linn-Wilsonville, are considerably more fortunate than many educators in Oregon.
We teach in a community that values education and shows support for those values through a local operating levy and capital bonds.
We have healthy and active PTSAs that work tirelessly on behalf of both students and teachers. We have a school board and superintendent that value high quality education, devoting resources to professional development and training in the latest ideas and best practices in education.
Despite this level of support and collaboration, we too, are dependent on state funding for much of what we do. If the state Legislature does not increase education funding to close the gap toward the QEM, our district will be negatively affected.
We will not be able to continue our K-12 programs as we have done in the past, and potential teacher layoffs and furlough days would lead to increased class sizes, decreased services, or a further shortened school year.
A lack of funding would directly harm our educators' ability to teach and our students' ability to learn and succeed.
West Linn-Wilsonville teachers work hard every day to provide the highest quality education possible for our students. We are among the state leaders in graduation rates, test scores, and inclusion programs.
We ask that you stand with us as we take a stand for students and teachers across our state.
Allison Kolta is a language arts teacher at Wood Middle School; Lane Johnson is a science teacher at Athey Creek Middle School and president of the West Linn Wilsonville Education Association; Pat Mickiewicz is an early language development teacher at Boones Ferry Primary School.
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