DALLAS — The Dallas School Board approved a change in the current school year’s calendar to allow teachers to join a statewide walkout at the Capitol in Salem to ask lawmakers for more education funding.
The change moves a budget reduction day from May 3 to the day of the protest on May 8.
The Oregon Education Association has May 8 designated for the gathering at the Oregon Capitol.
“The Oregon Education Association, the state organization, is focused on pushing legislators to increase school funding,” said Michelle Johnstone, the Dallas superintendent. “One of initiatives is for teachers, not in a strike fashion, but potentially a walkout, in support of our public education and trying to push the agenda for additional funding.”
Shana Lavier, the co-vice president of Dallas’ teacher union, commented on the change Monday night at the board’s regular meeting.
“The teachers union and the teachers that represent the district are in favor of the calendar change for the walkout date,” she said.
Johnstone said 120 teachers in the district indicated they wanted to participate in the walkout, with 90 of them preferring to make May 8 the budget reduction day, which means no classes would be held that day. If teachers had made plans or appointments on May 3, they wouldn’t suffer a penalty for missing time, Johnstone said.
Board member Michael Blanchard said he’s supportive of the cause, but not of the calendar change.
“It’s not because I don’t think the legislature should not be working on funding education appropriately,” he said. “What I struggle with is is that it’s basically a strike. It’s a strike-like action.”
He said the district shouldn’t be changing the calendar this late in the year, and added there’s a chance an education budget is passed before May 8, so it’s might be unnecessary to walkout.
“I don’t think it’s going to produce the results that we expect,” he said.
The board approved the change with Blanchard voting no.
“I would just like to see the legislature have to deal with the mess they’ve created in person,” said board member Jon Woods said.