Proposed budget will cut Oregon education funds

If adopted by the state, the proposed budget will cut $141 million from Oregon education.

Posted: Apr 2, 2019 11:24 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. -- The state of Oregon is facing a major budget deficit. The states budget predicts the deficit is predicted to worsen each biennium until 2025.

The Joint Committee on Ways and Means proposed budget cuts several things, including the state's education funds. The proposed budget for the next two years cuts about $141 millon from Oregon education.

Teachers in Ashland told NewsWatch12 with every new biennium, education faces new funding cuts. Teachers at Ashland High School say they are worried about several things, including potential layoffs and increased class sizes.

"Most of the funding in the Ashland school district comes from the state of Oregon," Kate Kennedy, a science teacher at Ashland high school, said. 

If the proposed budget is adopted, the Ashland School district could lose 7% of its funding. The proposed budgets' goal is to reduce long-term deficits and increase future stability.

"So it actually gives us less resources than we have right now, and at the current time, schools in Oregon are under-funded," Kennedy said. 

If schools lose more funding, teachers could be laid off and classes would be forced to combine, so class size will increase. The National Education Association (NEA) says Oregon has one of the largest average class sizes in the nation. NEA officials recommend 18 students or fewer in each class. In the last 30 years, Kennedy says her student count has nearly doubled.

"It's not about just having more students," Kennedy said. "It's about not being able to provide the individual attention and the adjustment to the curriculum every student needs."

In addition to larger class size, programs might be cut and support personnel, like counselors and school nurses, might lose their jobs. Records from the Oregon Department of Education show Oregon schools already don't have enough nurses or counselors for the number of students at each school. Some school counselors have caseloads double the recommended size. 

Ashland teachers plan to host a rally Friday at 5 p.m. during the First Friday Art Walk in Ashland to demand increased funds for K-12 education.

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