Cuts on the line when PPS board meets


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Public Schools student Warda Hussein recently said that “mindfulness has slowly helped me deal with stress in and outside of school. The tools they taught me, I took it outside of class.”

She spoke at last week’s PPS board meeting along with mindfulness studies teacher Marie Taylor. They asked the board to spare those classes in the wake of potential cuts.

Mindfulness, Taylor said, helps students “learn how to navigate negative self-talk, examine their coping strategies in dualistic thinking. In short, learn and practice skills to support their mental health for the rest of their lives.”

But Thursday night the community budget review committee will look at Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero’s proposed budget, which comes at a time when many districts across the state are experiencing budget shortfalls.

John Larson, the president of the Oregon Education Association, April 18, 2019 (KOIN)

“Every individual district has made choices on how to combat the funding cuts,” said John Larson, the president of the Oregon Education Association.

In light of the potential for more painful cuts, the OEA said teachers in the Portland school district and others — David Douglas, Oregon City, North Clackamas and Corbett, Larson said —  have planned a walkout on May 8 to ask the state for more funding for education.

A new House bill called the Student Success Act could help. Larson said it would provide about $2 billion in additional funding for K-12 education, which could help to strengthen early learning programs and reduce class sizes, among other things.

“Right now,” he said, “the resources are stretched so thin the students aren’t getting what they need.”

Meanwhile, students and teachers are left searching for a lifeline for some of their programs.

“I don’t think we should take out mindful studies because it really helps students,” Hussein said. “These skills matter and for some are truly a matter of life and death.”

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