SALEM, Oregon — Teachers, parents, students and other community members took part in a march and rally at the Oregon State Capitol as part of a statewide teacher walkout to pressure lawmakers to provide more funding for schools.
The rally began at 1:30 p.m. at Riverfront Park in Salem. Attendees marched to the Capitol at 2 p.m. for a rally that began at 3 p.m. The Salem-Keizer School District closed 2.5 hours early and canceled all afternoon preschool.
The Oregon Education Association, the union for teachers across the state, planned the rallies months ago. The union said the objective of the Day of Action is to advocate “for students after years of disinvestment.”
The state Senate was scheduled to vote on a $1 billion per-year funding package (HB 3427) for schools on Tuesday, but Senate Republicans didn’t show up on the Senate floor in order to avoid the vote. They didn't show up Wednesday, either.
The House approved the school funding package last week.
Minority leader Herman Baertschiger said Monday that Republicans in the Senate are opposed to the proposed half a percent tax on businesses with sales over $1 million in the funding package.
Classrooms in Crisis
KGW has been following the issue of classrooms disruptions across Oregon for months. The concerns of parents, teachers and lawmakers echo the reasons OEA says they are marching: large class sizes, missing mental and behavioral health supports, and cut programs like art, music, and P.E.
After months of reporting on disrupted classrooms, we recently sat down with parents, teachers and lawmakers to brainstorm solutions.
No idea was off the table. This discussion was taped from beginning to end as teachers laid out their frustrations, parents their concerns and lawmakers listened.
Classrooms in Crisis: Solutions aired Wednesday, May 8 on KGW and KGW.com.
KGW has interviewed dozens of teachers and school administrators about an increase in verbal, physical and sometimes violent disruptions in Oregon and Southwest Washington classrooms. We’ve received emails from hundreds of additional teachers who tell similar stories. Many teachers say they don’t have the proper training, support or resources to deal with this disruptive behavior. The teachers don’t blame the kids, pointing out that many students have suffered trauma in their lives; however, they say the current law makes it difficult to handle these incidents effectively. In many cases, they are forced to clear all other students out of a classroom until a disruptive student can calm down. We will continue to tell these stories and push for answers from lawmakers and school officials.
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