This Monday, youâ€™ve got an opportunity to speak out and make a difference for school funding.
Gov. Kitzhaber will be in Portland on Monday evening for a town hall
Oregon has the third largest class sizes in the country, and one of the shortest school years.on education. Itâ€™s your chance to make your voice heard about the need to put more money into our classrooms Â by reining in out of control tax breaks and using tax dollars Â efficiently. Visit this linkÂ to let us know youâ€™ll be there:http://ouroregon.org/townhallÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Kitzhaber Town Hall on EducationMonday, March 18 6-7:30pm, Madison High School 2735 NE 82nd Avenue Portland, Oregon 97220 The questions for the town hall are being moderated by the Portland School Boardâ€”get your question in now by submitting them toÂ the PPS Facebook page. Here are some facts to help you put your questions together: Â
Over the next two years, Oregon is expected to give away more than $36 billion in tax breaks.
Since 2009, the amount of money Oregon gives away in tax breaks has grown by 29%, even while budgets for schools and critical services have been cut.
Oregon is now tied for the lowest business taxes in the nation.
Funding for K-12 schools is $3 billion below what experts believe we need in order to provide a quality education for every Oregon kid.
They are asking you to send a simple email to your legislators – every Oregonian has a state senator and state representative who was elected to act on your behalf.
What should your email include?
Briefly state why you are writing.The Oregon PTA wants your legislators to know that you are keeping track of what they are doing in Salem and that you care about every child in the state of Oregon, andsubsequently that Oregon PTA is watching as well.
Tell a personal story about how the cuts in education funding have affected you especially with increased class sizes and lost programs.
Thank the legislator for their concern and service.Â
Offer to be available to the legislator if they should have questions or need further information.Â
Provide your preferred contact information and respectfully sign off.
Please includeÂ OPTARegion2@gmail.comÂ in the CC so we can keep track of people responding. We want to help build the connection with our legislators.
Where to send the message:
If you want to find your legislator, here is a link you can follow where you just put in your address and it will list all of your representatives, nationally and in Oregon.Â Â www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/Â , or go to the list below.
If that is too much of a hassle here are the legislators associated with each school address.Â You can use the school which is nearest to your home and you will most likely be okay.
“My name is Scott Overton and I am an advocate for children and education.Â I am a member of the PTA at Grant HS and the father of two boys, Joe and Adam. I am interested in Oregon reinvesting in education and making sure that all children have access to a bright future.Â So I am asking you to make sure that the percentage of the state budget dedicated to education does not further decline and even increases with the result of a no cut budget for schools throughout Oregon.Â My children, Joe and Adam, are very different in how they learn.Â Joe can independently learn most material and does quite well in every class situation.Â But Adam is not so lucky.Â He requires extra time to understand his work and in second year Algebra he has 35 other students in his class which means the teacher cannot spend much time with him.Â Luckily the teacher has made herself available after hours to help students and Adam is taking advantage of this but I fear there are many in his class that are not able to come during lunch or after school because of responsibilities outside of school and they are not getting the time they need from the teacher to understand the concepts. The teacher should have fewer students so that she can attend to every student during the class period.Â Thank you, Representative Dembrow, for listening to my concern and for your service to our community.Â Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need further information.Â I am available to help make education work in Oregon.
Sincerely, Scott Overton
Just one more way to get involved in School Funding and Advocacy in Oregon! Let me know if you have questions and keep an eye out in the SES Messenger for a new section all about this blog and Public Education Advocacy opportunities each week.
The Oregon Legislature is back in session, starting today, Monday, February 4, 2013. In case you haven’t yet heard,
…Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, put out a recommended budget that included two mandates for the legislature:
…Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem…Â and House of Representatives Minority Leader Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte…Â McLane both said the economy would be a top priority, as well as education funding…Â Make changes to Oregonâ€™s criminal justice system and Public Employees Retirement System. He tied the savings to education funding in his proposed budget and told legislators to cut $1 billion from the state budget if they donâ€™t pass the reform packages…
As usual, most of the attention will be on money. Kitzhaber has proposed $6.15 billion for K-12 schools in 2013-15, an 8 percent increase from the current two-year budget. School advocates want more. Kitzhaber says he can deliver what he has proposed only if the Legislature approves controversial changes to the Public Employee Retirement System. He and his chief education officer, Rudy Crew, also will ask lawmakers to earmark $10 million to $120 million for four key initiatives — early childhood reading; science, math and engineering; advising to nudge students toward college; and recruiting, training and mentoring of teachers.
In the higher ed arena, Kitzhaber wants the Legislature to recast the power structure to create aÂ new postsecondary boardÂ over universities, community colleges and state financial aid. University champions also want to permit some universities to create their own boards, independent of systemwide control.
Watch list:Â Kitzhaber and his handpicked education lieutenants, Crew and schools chief Rob Saxton, will make the case for their spending and governance changes. The Oregon Education Association, which was unhappy with the education package the governor helped push through last session, should never be counted out.
Politics:Â School boards, superintendents and the teachers union all are expected to oppose parts of Kitzhaber’s plans, instead advocating higher spending on schools and less earmarking of how that money can be spent. Democrats are looking at alternative ways to pump more money into schools.
I will be posting most likely more frequently in the days and weeks to come with action items for those who may want to get involved in trying to increase funding for Oregon Schools. A few groups to watch or to check out for more information on the history of education funding in Oregon include:
Things are still pretty quiet on the Education Funding front here in Oregon but should warm up when the legislature starts their session. In the meantime, if you are interested in this topic, you may want to join State Representative Jules Bailey, and co-hosts Senator Diane Rosebaum and Carolyn Tomei for:
The Future of Public Education in Oregon
This Education Panel and Community Town Hall will include Special Guests:Â
Dr. Rudy Crew, Oregon’s Chief Education Officer,Â
Gwen Sullivan, Portland Teacher and President of the Portland Association of Teachers,Â
Lisa Frack, public school parent and education advocate.Â
When: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 6:00-8:00 PM
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â *Submit questions beginning at 5:30 PM
Where: Vollum Lecture Hall at Reed College
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Parking: Â The best place to park is the east parking lot (just east of 36th Avenue on Woodstock Blvd.). The Vollum Lecture Hall is centrally located and can be found as #37 on the campus map here: Â Reed Campus Map.