Canby schools will be closed tomorrow, May 8, as teachers and educators across the district rally in support of increased funding for education.
The May 8 walkout was called for months ago by Oregon Education Association President John Larson, and educators from many other districts across the state will be participating. One of the focal points has been House Bill 3427, also known as the Student Success Act, which would provide an estimated $2 billion per biennium in dedicated school funding through the use of a new tax on businesses that bring in at least $1 million annually.
But Ben Winegar, president of the Canby Education Association, said this is about much more than one bill.
“Really, the goal is to get proper funding for education,” he said in an email. “We aren’t in the middle of contract negotiations, so we aren’t advocating for higher pay or benefits. We aren’t protesting against any administration or other local entity. We are trying to make a stand to fund education at the Quality Education Model.”
Winegar says that the state Legislature has, for years, funded schools at levels below what their own standards and research suggests districts need to be successful.
“Last year, they were off by over 20 percent, which means they are funding, at most, 80 percent of what is required for our students to have satisfactory success (not exceed),” he said. “This is the reason why programs that have been cut in the past have never been added back, and our current crisis around mental health and disruptive learning continues to be an issue that is not properly addressed.”
Winegar says the May 8th demonstrations came about because of several factors signaling that the 2019 Legislature might look favorably on a proposal to increase investment in schools, including a large crop of current Oregon lawmakers endorsed by educators and believed to be pro-education, similar actions that have been successful in other states and a solid economy.
“May 8th was almost called off when the governor released her first funding proposal, but then the Joint Ways and Means Committee went the opposite direction that we thought they would,” Winegar said. “Since then, more and more teachers have united together to push our legislators to act NOW. We may not get another chance.”
Winegar says Canby teachers will be participating in the following demonstrations tomorrow:
Time: 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Location: I-5 Miley Road Overpass (Charbonneau Exit)
Time: 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Location: Meet at Vietnam Veterans Memorial, then move to both sides of Highway 99E to demonstrate
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Location: Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Photo by Gage Skidmore. Licensed under cc-by-2.0.