Serving as an educational assistant in our Special Education department at Tillamook High School gives me the opportunity to work with many amazing students. I see firsthand the importance that programs such as Special Education have in the lives of students who need them.
Through my work, I’ve also seen how absolutely critical adequate funding is to ensure we provide the support these students deserve to achieve success. When budgets have been cut in the past, students paid the price. Unfortunately, proposals before the Oregon Legislature risk repeating these mistakes by underfunding our schools.
The State School Fund provides the resources for the daily operations of our school district and districts across the state. District business managers confirm that the State School Fund needs to be funded at $9.6 billion to maintain current service levels. Anything less will translate to cuts in our schools. For the Tillamook School District, the underfunding the Legislature is considering is the equivalent of cutting 6 teachers or 7 school days from our school year.
It’s easy to look at a budget and see just numbers, but these are numbers that have real consequences in the everyday lives of our students. Especially after the year of disruptions our education system and our students have experienced, we know we need more resources – not less – to keep our students on track after this pandemic.
That’s why I’m pushing legislators to only support a budget that funds the State School Fund at $9.6 billion. Their current proposal of hundreds of millions of dollars less will shortchange our students – especially those most in need of support.
-Misty M Talerico, Bay City