BEND, OR -- A statewide “Day of Action” is planned for May eighth, to protest what educators say is the state’s failure to provide adequate and stable funding for public schools. At least four Portland-area districts have been forced to cancel school over concerns they wouldn’t have enough staff to safely open that day.
But, Redmond and Bend-La Pine Schools will stay open. Bend-La Pine School Board Chair Andy High says events are planned for after school, that day, "We’re going to have kind of a student rally – a march for student success – after the school day, instead of interrupting the school day. I think that’s attributable to our relationship with our union; the work we do on a daily basis to make sure that they’re included and they’re understanding, not only our challenges, but we understand their challenges." He adds, "It’s better than canceling school. It’s going to be a chance for us to rally as a community; show our support for education."
Fellow board member Peggy Kinkade tells KBND News, "We’re all working toward the same goals. They are feeling, as much as teachers in The Valley are feeling the desire to rise up, to do something, to press for change and improvement in funding education. Our teachers are very much behind that." She says state spending on public schools has not returned to pre-recession levels, despite the improved economy.
The March for Students begins at 2:45 p.m., May eighth. One starts at Troy Field, in downtown Bend, near the district office. Another meets at La Pine Elementary. In both, music and speakers are planned, along with a march through town.
Attendees are encouraged to wear red, in a show of support. "We are hopeful that we will see a lot of people from the community join us downtown in Bend and in La Pine," says Kinkade, "To show support for teachers. They are pushed beyond their limits, at this point. And, it’s stressful and something’s got to give. We’re hopeful that we’re going to get action, this year."
In Redmond, the district invites employees to engage in the "Day of Action" with rallies at each school, also at the conclusion of the school day. Staff in Redmond Schools are also encouraged to wear "red for ed."