What would the Governor's school funding package mean for Hillsboro?+Share
Do you remember when cuts to Hillsboro schools made the New York Times ten years ago? That was the year before Ali, the daughter of Hillsboro School Board member Kim Strelchun, entered first grade in Hillsboro. (Yes, during Oregon's Doonesbury era. See the comic below.)
Since then, Ali has seen more years with cuts than without. She entered first grade with 34 kids in her class, and has only experienced two years with class sizes under 30. Now that she's in high school, her average class size is about 42, with 59 students in her largest elective class.
"For parents with kids in high school, it has felt like there's been no end in sight since 2003. I don't want that same pattern for my son and other families in my community."
Finally, we have a chance to make a meaningful and lasting impact for Hillsboro schools. Yesterday, the Governor asked legislators to reserve September 30 for a special session that would tackle education funding.
What would a potential package of new revenues and pension cost reduction mean for Hillsboro schools? It would mean $8M this biennium and every biennium after to:
- Reduce class size ratios by 2-3 kids this year; or
- Restore 8 days of school this year
This is not another band-aid. This is real and lasting improvement for Oregon K-12 funding and we need to take a stand right now.
The Governor has asked legislators to work with him on a package of sensible reductions in PERS costs coupled with a modest amount of new revenue and small business tax cuts. If approved in a special session later this month, it would improve conditions for kids and teachers this school year.
If it doesn't happen now, there's no guarantee we'll get another chance at a deal like this. This fall, Hillsboro schools will see pension costs go up again by another 4%. And don't forget that's after a temporary reduction in pension rates approved by the legislature a few months ago. Rates are set to go up again on July 1, 2015. That means a new round of layoffs and reductions in school days is inevitable for the 2015-2016 school year.
That's why we need YOU to go to the petition. Sign it. Forward it. Post it to Facebook. It's going to take all of us working together to put Hillsboro back on track.