Following the tentative agreement reached to resolve the teacher strike at Portland Public Schools, Governor Tina Kotek today announced the next steps she will lead on to address core issues that educators have raised to improve outcomes for students across Oregon.
“The strike was a reflection of larger challenges that districts across the state are facing,” Governor Kotek said. “From salaries not staying competitive with the market, to backlogs in facility maintenance, to classroom disruptions related to the behavioral health needs of students, we clearly have work to do.
“I commit to continuing the work. As your Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, I commit to partnering with educators across the state to tackle the systemic issues that contributed to this strike. We all have an opportunity to do our part to ensure our schools are safe, successful places for students, teachers, and school employees.”
To address many of the underlying structural needs facing our schools, Governor Kotek will take the following steps:
- Develop a statewide action plan, with the help of a multidisciplinary group of leaders, to support the social-emotional health needs of students in school settings and strengthen resources and capacity of school staff to meet these needs.
- Partner with the legislature on their work to establish minimum teacher salaries and review funding for schools.
- Salary Schedules: The Governor will closely monitor and review the recommendations of the legislature’s Task Force on Statewide Educator Salaries. She wants to see a proposal for minimum teacher salary schedules that make Oregon competitive with our neighboring states, mitigate competition between neighboring districts, and reflect local cost of living. She also wants to see a plan to fund that proposal over the next several years.
- Funding: While the legislature ultimately adopts the budget, the Governor’s office must be a partner to ensure the methodology makes sense for today’s realities. The Governor will direct the Chief Financial Officer and the Oregon Department of Education to partner with the legislature and education stakeholders to review and revise the methodology for school funding.
- Create the Office of Transparency within the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to make budget information that the State already collects from districts more accessible and easier to understand. This is intended to ensure labor and district partners and the public have the same budget information that the State does and strengthen transparency and improve customer service to Oregonians. ODE will include data about future estimated revenues that districts may have, the share of district funding that comes from State sources compared to local sources, and the share of district expenditures spent on administration. This work will draw from the work of states such as Arizona, Illinois and Michigan, and from ODE’s ESSER dashboard.
A full document outlining Governor Kotek's commitments can be found here.
Source: Oregon Governor's Office