This Monday, President's Day, thousands will converge on Salem to share stories of education cuts with lawmakers. The educational funding crisis is nationwide. In Oregon, thousands of education professionals, from bus drivers to teachers, to secretaries and custodial staff, teachers and special education assistants, are preparing themselves for additional layoffs and salary cuts. Economic development in Oregon and across the nation depends on an educated workforce. When schools close, students are not being prepared for adulthood. When cut days are the norm students are not learning communications skills, teamwork skills, and understanding the importance of having a strong work ethic.
In North Clackamas, one of the largest districts in Oregon, our 17,500-student district is considering closing and consolidating schools, hiking fees, and changing secondary school schedules as it tries to find $14 million to $19 million in savings next year. Our district will likely reduce the equivalent of 150 to 175 positions next year, which would add to about 220 positions cut since the 2008-09 school year. Our class sizes have skyrocketed this year and we will expand to even larger class sizes next year as more staff is let go. But, we have a chance to join together on Monday to send a message to Oregon lawmakers.
If you believe it is important that our future generation is well-educated, has the opportunity to spend quality time learning with educators, that those who cook, clean, and bus our children to school should be given a living wage, and our teachers have the opportunity to have the equipment they need to teach each child than join us.
For one hour you can stand with us and be the voice of children in Oregon who are facing the most difficult moments in history. They want to be in school. They want the chance to learn. They want an opportunity to know their teacher can spend individual time with them to solve a problem or point them in the right direction. For every adult that stands on the steps in Salem on Monday at noon one child in one classroom will have a voice.