Portland Public Schools could face teacher layoffs for 2017-18 school year
PORTLAND, Ore. —
Fifth-grader Devon Scott enjoys school but more than that he loves his teachers.
“I like them; they are really nice. They take time with us, and I just think they have hard times, but they take care of it and they do as well as they can,” he said.
But he says he’s noticed class sizes are growing.
“It’s hard sometimes because when there are so many people it’s hard to concentrate with so many in the class,” Devon said.
Devon's grandmother, Bev, says she's worried as she hears teacher layoffs are on the horizon.
“I just don't see how we could be cutting down on our teachers,” she said.
One of her grandkids has ADD. She says he would suffer from layoffs.
“He needs more one-on-one help. But when they put him in a classroom of 30 kids, they can’t help them,” Bev said.
Suzanne Cohen is the president of the Portland Association of Teachers. She says she saw this coming when Measure 97 didn't pass in November.
“It's devastating. We have a broke revenue system in Oregon. We have corporations who are failing to pay their fair share,” she said.
Measure 97 would have been the largest tax increase in Oregon history, pumping more money into schools.
Now Cohen says classrooms and students will feel the impact.
“The first and most obvious way is increased class sizes with less educators. The students need to be divided up among less teachers,” Cohen said.
At this point the district doesn’t know how many positions will get cut.
Parents and grandparents like Bev Scott are concerned about any cuts.
“It does worry me. How are they going out in the world? How are they going to get an education? How are they going to go to college and get a job when they get out of school?” Bev said.
Oregon is facing at $1.7 billion budget shortfall. If more money isn’t acquired, layoffs will affect the 2017-2018 school year.