Teachers rally on Highway 26 overpasses for school funding

(KPTV image)

BEAVERTON, OR (KPTV) -- Local teachers hit overpasses over Highway 26 Wednesday afternoon, calling for lawmakers to better fund schools.   

Top lawmakers unveiled a first draft of a spending plan last week in Salem. It calls for a total of $8.9 billion to go toward education spending.

But the Oregon School Boards Association says nothing short of $9.1 billion is acceptable, and apparently Gov. Kate Brown sides with association, because when she unveiled her budget late last year she also wanted that extra $200 million increase. 

The Oregon Education Association, however, believes the state needs to designate $10.7 billion for full funding. 

Teachers in the Beaverton School District held signs on a Sunset Highway overpass during the evening commute Wednesday. They're frustrated. 

“When you have to work around a tight budget, you are really forcing kids to make sacrifices,” said Beaverton Public Schools teacher Kathleen Valle. 

And authors of the budget agree. Last week when it was unveiled, they knew the numbers wouldn’t fly for educators.

“We recognize that this budget will still end up with deficits for many of our school districts. We don't like it. And yet, we're constrained to the resources we have available,” said Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward. 

John Larson, president of the Oregon Education Association, said, “We believe the budget they’ve proposed is going to result in 900 educators across the state being laid off, shorter school years, larger class sizes.”

“It seems pretty doom and gloom,” said Valle. 

And teachers from Hillsboro and Forest Grove joined Wednesday afternoon's event, holding signs at other stops along Highway 26. 

One teacher who has worked in the Beaverton School District for 13 years says now is the time to act. 

“Our goal is to help our kids and we need the public support,” said teacher Andrew Dennis.

Expect more on this in the weeks and months ahead. The Oregon Education Association says teachers are considering a walkout on May 8.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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