Elections | Oregon

Beaverton Passes Levy, Saves Teaching Jobs

OPB | May 22, 2013 6:07 a.m. | Updated: May 22, 2013 7:21 a.m. | Portland

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Courtesy: Yes for Beaverton Schools

Beaverton won’t have to cut more teachers. That’s the upshot of Tuesday night’s election results for one of Oregon’s largest school districts. It’s good news for school supporters toward the end of a difficult school year.

Beaverton eliminated more than more than 300 teaching positions in this school year, and shuffled an even higher number of teachers around. That was after Beaverton voters narrowly rejected a school levy in 2011.

Julie Bennett is a Beaverton-area parent. She says parents and students felt the cuts across the district — and that motivated them to work on passing the levy on last night’s ballot.

She says in the early part of the campaign, research showed the general community split 50-50 on the measure. But she says parents of kids in the district supported it by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

She says they had a simple argument to get parents to vote.

Bennett said, “That all of this levy money will go directly to the teachers. And it will make improvements – we knew at each school how many more teachers we would get, and what that would look like for our kids. To me that was the important piece.”

Bennett says like many parents, she went door-to-door for the measure, and talked to the parents of her kids’ classmates. But as eight o’clock approached last night, Bennett says parents weren’t at all sure of the outcome.

Bennett said, “I have to say, we were biting our nails. There was really no way to know. There was no early polling, there’s no forecasting. We were just going off our hopes that we’d done enough, and that it mattered.”

The measure had no organized opposition.

District officials say the $15 million the levy will raise is the difference between further cuts, and adding back 150 teachers. It costs a $1.25 per thousand of assessed value — or about $290 a year for a median-priced home.

Late Tuesday, elsewhere in the state, there were mixed results on school funding measures. Eugene, Milton-Freewater, and Bend La Pine school measures were passing. Measures were losing in Silver Falls and Roseburg. Results were still very close for the Klamath County and Crook County schools.

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