Salem, Ore. — In the wake of the agreement to resolve the teacher strike at Portland Public Schools, Governor Tina Kotek has outlined the next steps to address core issues raised by educators to enhance student outcomes across Oregon.
Governor Kotek acknowledged that the strike highlighted larger challenges faced by districts statewide, including non-competitive salaries, facility maintenance backlogs, and disruptions in classrooms due to students’ behavioral health needs. She expressed a commitment to addressing these systemic issues in collaboration with educators.
To tackle underlying structural needs in schools, Governor Kotek will:
- Develop a statewide action plan in collaboration with a multidisciplinary group of leaders to support the social-emotional health needs of students and enhance the resources and capacity of school staff to address these needs.
- Partner with the legislature to establish minimum teacher salaries and review school funding:
- Salary Schedules: The Governor will closely monitor the recommendations of the legislature’s Task Force on Statewide Educator Salaries. She aims for proposals that make Oregon competitive with neighboring states, alleviate competition between districts, and reflect local cost of living. Additionally, she seeks a funding plan for these proposals over the coming years.
- Funding: While the legislature adopts the budget, the Governor’s office will collaborate to ensure a sensible methodology for today’s realities. The Chief Financial Officer and the Oregon Department of Education will work 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 enhance accessibility and understanding of budget information collected from districts. This initiative aims to provide labor and district partners, as well as the public, with the same budget information available to the State. The Office of Transparency will include data about future estimated revenues, the share of district funding from State versus local sources, and the percentage of district expenditures allocated to administration. The approach draws inspiration from states like Arizona, Illinois, and Michigan, as well as ODE’s ESSER dashboard.