Clad in red shirts labeled #RedforEd, employees of Brookings-Harbor School District held a “walk-in” during their lunch period on Wednesday to raise their signs and voices at passersby, protesting what they say is lack of state funding for public schools and raise awareness.

“We asked everyone to come and stand beside us for full education funding, as well as any education cause they feel passionate about,” said Brookings-Harbor Education Association President Dane Tippman, a Brookings-Harbor teacher and the event’s organizer. “We had people come out to support having a nurse in every school, to support art programs continuing, music programs continuing, but most of all we want legislators to know we take education funding very seriously.”

Faculty members and other staff from Brookings-Harbor High School and Azalea Middle School, including teachers, counselors and bus drivers, stood together on the street with a billboard on a trailer, encouraging passing cars to honk in support.

Jacki Scott, a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Azalea Middle School, said she would most like to see more nurses hired, claiming that currently, only a single school nurse serves all three Brookings schools. She also hopes the school can someday secure more funding to offer a wider selection of electives.

Holly Stevens, a counselor at Azalea, said that the district would benefit from more counseling staff.

Local bus drivers in attendance also expressed concerns regarding overburdened drivers and difficult routes.

The protest was part of a statewide action by educators to support and raise awareness of the Student Success Act, which would invest $2 billion into Oregon schools, an 18 percent overall increase to K-12 funding.

“The state of school funding is currently in a state of crisis, in my opinion,” Tippman said. “We’re seeing reductions, failures to increase spending in schools and not keeping up with inflation.”

According to Tippman, the school district has been discussing reduced budgets and has been choosing not to fill vacant positions when losing faculty members. These trends have been worrying for staff and concerns that programs might soon be cut due to budget concerns have been rising, he said.

“We haven’t seen any of our programs cut, yet, but we want to make sure they won’t be,” Tippman said.

To learn more about the RedforEd movement, you can go online at may8forstudents.org for more information. The movement also encourages everyone to visit bitly.com/fundORschools to send an email to state legislators, asking for support in their endeavors for funding.

Contact Mathew Brock at mbrock@currypilot.com .

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