SALEM, Ore. — The Salem-Keizer school board and administration are preparing for $71 million in cuts in next year’s budget.

Parents and staff are questioning the district’s priorities. Tyler Scialo-Lakeberg is the President of the Salem-Keiser Education Association. “We are in the business of educating students. The proposed cuts in front of you do not align to that purpose. 239 licensed staff positions to be cut. The majority are which are classroom teachers. representing about over eight percent of all licensed positions compared to 15 administrators positions which represent a total of seven percent.”

Jane Tichnel told the school board and the superintendent, “I’m a mom and I’m here to demand action. I want my school board to demand action too. Depleting this district of so much funding and qualified staff will inevitably increase violence in our schools and decrease student ability to function academically and emotionally. I can assure you this depletion will have substantial adverse impacts on this generation of students.”

Others, like Jeff Jabin, worry about a reduction in school based health assistance so nurses would only be on site at schools for two hours a day. “Diabetes medications, injuries that happen throughout the day, all of these different things. How are those going to be taken care of in two hours? The school day is six hours long.”

Superintendent Andrea Castanedas explains that cutback. “School based health assistance was federal recovery funded. And it’s just another example of the difficult decisions.

She points to growing expenses and declining revenue, as COVID money dries up. “We need the services, we need the people, but we no longer have that money.”

Tomorrow’s the day that those who are losing jobs will find out from the district.

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