Salem rally cries for 'education funding'

By NEIL HEILPERN, Special Correspondent

SALEM - The Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA) and Oregon Education Association organized a rally on the Capitol steps Jan. 20 that attracted more than 5,000 people, who urged lawmakers to find long-term solutions for funding education.

"We're campaigning to hold legislators responsible," OSEA Executive Director Steven Araujo told the NW Labor Press. "Education cuts are turning schools into day care centers instead of learning institutions."

"I hope they (legislators) look out here, see lots of concerned people and prepare stable education finance plans," said Lee Garboden, Tigard-Tualatin Education Association president."People will see this and add their voices to ours."

"A lot of our members work two jobs," said Stan Ventillie, a Forest Grove special education assistant. Like many OSEA members, he often dips into his own pocket to buy things for students,"easily more than $100" annually, he said.

West Linn High School classified worker Linda Jacobs stood on the Capitol steps, holding a banner, "No cuts to education." She called the financial crisis, "drastic," noting lack of funding occupies most of the OSEA meetings she attends.

"When there is a lack of state revenue," OSEA State President Merlene Martin told the crowd, "it is classifieds that are the first to be laid off, hours of work reduced and first to lose health and retirement benefits in order to balance local education district budgets."

She said 15 senators and 34 representatives have signed an OSEA pledge whereby they have promised not to adjourn the current legislative session until coming up with a solution to school funding.

February 7, 2003 issue

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