PORTLAND, Ore. – People who want to add more vocational and career technical classes to Oregon schools headed to Salem Thursday to turn their petition in at Secretary of State’s office.
They want to get their petition onto the November ballot. They say 88,184 signatures were needed to qualify for the November ballot, and they gathered more than 125,000.
Supporters say Initiative Petition 65 will give all Oregon high schools the ability to add to, or bring back, more hands-on classes, such as robotics, auto shop, and trade programs.
It would also make college-level classes available to high school students, and bring back counseling, classes and tutoring to boost the graduation rate.
Supporters say the initiative will help kids stay in school, and won’t raise taxes, or take money away from any other school programs. The money would come from new revenue the state gets from the increasing population and economy.
Former Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is a chief petitioner.
“We need people to pick up the tools and build the stuff we need. And we have to give these kids the opportunity," he said Thursday. "Because the demographics are against us. The last of the baby boom generation, who had the skill set, are retiring in the next 10 years. Shame on us as a people if we do not give our kids the opportunity to learn those skills.”
The Oregon School Boards Association, Coalition of Communities of Color and the Latino Network are also supporting the petition.