The Forest Grove High School. Photo: Brenda Schaffer

FOREST GROVE - The Oregon Education Association has asked teachers across the state of Oregon to join a walkout on May 8 to demand more significant education funding for public schools and community colleges, with some school districts closing due to anticipated low staffing levels.

As a result, the Forest Grove School District (FGSD) plans to be closed on May 8, according to a letter from FGSD superintendent Dave Parker.

"At this time, it appears that a large number of our licensed staff members intend to participate in this statewide walkout. We have also heard the same information from some neighboring districts. Because of the uncertainty around our ability to have enough of our own staff members or substitutes to ensure adequate supervision and safety for our students, we will be canceling school on May 8th," read part of the letter from Parker.

According to FGSD spokesperson David Warner, the closure will also include the Oak Grove Academy program housed in the Gales Creek School.

In neighboring Banks, the Banks School District will remain open, according to Banks School District superintendent Jeff Leo in a message posted on the school's social media pages.

According to Leo, teachers and other staff will be wearing red in solidarity with the OEA walkouts, and standing outside their schools to greet students in the morning of May 8.

The full letter from FGSD superintendent Dave Parker is below.

"Dear FGSD Families and Guardians,

As you may have heard and seen in the news, the Oregon Education Association (OEA) has called for a statewide “Day of Action” on Wednesday, May 8th, during which they are encouraging teachers to participate in a walkout to illustrate to the Legislature the need for additional, adequate and stable K-12 education funding.

Along with our staff, I feel it is imperative that our students receive significant new investments in the funding of their education. Oregon education has been in a budget crisis for nearly three decades and our students deserve better. Although I can’t endorse the chosen course of action, we do appreciate that our local teachers’ union, the Forest Grove Education Association (FGEA), has engaged in conversations with us about this day in advance allowing us the opportunity to problem-solve and develop contingency plans.

At this time, it appears that a large number of our licensed staff members intend to participate in this statewide walkout. We have also heard the same information from some neighboring districts. Because of the uncertainty around our ability to have enough of our own staff members or substitutes to ensure adequate supervision and safety for our students, we will be canceling school on May 8th.

We understand that school interruptions like this are problematic for families and appreciate your understanding that the District is acting in a way to keep students safe. This loss of instructional time will be made up at the end of the year. We will communicate what the end of the year schedule will look like early next week.  

While we will not have school on May 8th there are a number of activities that will continue as scheduled (AP testing, some sports, etc.). Over the next few days we will come up with a list of events and activities that will take place on May 8th. We will have our building principals communicate directly to you on which of these activities will happen.

Respectfully,

Dave Parker

Superintendent"