Klamath Falls City Schools will be closed tomorrow due to teacher walkout

3,000 students across the Klamath Falls City School District will have the day off Wednesday, May 8th.

Posted: May 7, 2019 5:54 PM
Updated: May 7, 2019 5:59 PM

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- 3,000 students across the Klamath Falls City School District will have the day off Wednesday, May 8th. The school district says it was forced to cancel school due to about 150 staff members participating in the statewide May 8th teacher walkout advocating for more funding toward education.

Superintendent Dr. Paul Hillyer said he agrees that schools need more funding, but the district does not support staff missing school.

"We do not, cannot, legally support a walkout of school. Therefore, this way of calling attention is not something we have supported as a school district," Dr. Hillyer said.

Dr. Hillyer estimates about one-third to one-half of the district's staff will be at Wednesday's rally. He said the district let parents know a school cancellation was a possibility, but wanted to get an accurate count of how many staff would not be at the schools before administrators made the call.

Ultimately, the district alerted parents on Monday that schools across the district would be cancelled Wednesday.

"It was just a safety factor," Dr. Hillyer added. "We just believed we didn't have a high enough percentage of employees for students to feel totally safe with having the young people out of school."

Some parents are not happy with school being cancelled. While parent Chirstina Handsaker supports teachers demanding more funding, she does not believe that walking out of the classroom sets a good example for the kids like her 3rd grade son.

"I don't think teachers, some not all, are sitting down explaining to their classrooms why they're walking out tomorrow," Handsaker said. "I think they are conveying the wrong message."

Handsaker believed teachers could have advocated for education in another, better way — like by having their students write letter to the Oregon legislature. She plans to do this with her son while he's off from school Wednesday.

"They lose enough school days from furlough days and other things that they come up with that they aren't going to have school that day. It's setting the kids back," Handsaker added.

Staff participating in the walkout will hold their rally at the Klamath County Fairgrounds.

Please note that while the Klamath Falls City School District will close its schools Wednesday, the Klamath County School District will remain open.

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