PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Public School Board voted on the budget for the next school year, Tuesday night.
At the start of the meeting, parents from across the district showed up to the meeting, urging the board to vote it down.
Multiple parents took issue with the budget proposal cutting 88 positions and said that their students need more teachers, not fewer.
“Vote no on this until you put teachers who are front line, and students first,” said Charity Fain, a parent at Sunnyside Environmental School.
Thirty Parent-Teacher Association groups across the Portland Public School (PPS) District banded together to speak up at the meeting.
The cries of parents didn’t fall on deaf ears. With an extra $9 million coming from the state, the board announced that they’re now proposing to bring back 74 positions, including SPED teachers, elementary teachers, education assistants and counselors. However, cutting teacher positions wasn’t the only item that parents took issue with.
PTA parents also expressed sadness about some high-class sizes for next year, writing a letter to the school board urging them to amend the budget and restore the cut teaching positions.
“They want to be seen by their teachers, in a class of 30 they can’t be. In a class of 20, yes they can,” said Glencoe PTA Treasurer Isabel Johnson. “We are advocating for the kids. And for me advocating for the kids is advocating for our teachers, who are teaching in one of the hardest years they’ve ever had to teach in.”
“We need PPS to come through and make sure we have as many bodies in the building as possible. There’s no excuse,” added Vernon PTA Co-President Maya von Geldern.
PPS officials have told KOIN 6 that next year’s enrollment is down by 3,400 students, which will reduce the district’s state funding down the road.
Originally in February, the district thought they’d have to cut 150 teaching positions but limited it to losing 88 teaching positions through retirement in the initial proposal.
In the meeting, the Portland Association of Teachers said they were pleased to learn that the district is proposing to bring the majority of those 88 cut positions back. PTA parents said also felt more positive following the meeting, but that they feel the need to go to Salem to lobby lawmakers for more education funding to further reduce class sizes.
After a late-night deliberation, the board ultimately voted to approve the budget with some suggested amendments. The board will finalize and adopt the budget later in mid-June.