What we know about the reduction in force

Pt. 2: What the union has been addressing



Teachers hold signs outside Kalapuya Learning Center at the May 22 board meeting.

By Laura Taylor and Aishiki Nag

The timeline

     As the news and discussion around the RIF’s started this year, it has been brought up that a plan for a reduction was discussed during the 2019-2020 school year.

     “One of the things that is making this harder in TTSD and harder in Tigard is that our enrollment declines and the funding that is associated has been happening for five or six years. And we were at a point [in] my first year at Tigard in the 2019-2020 school year where we were looking at staff reductions that year,” shared Tigard High Principal Brian Bailey in an interview with The Paw. 

     However, the district made the decision not to go through with the reduction when the pandemic broke out, and that talk of this reduction back in 2020 never reached the teacher level. When asked about when the reduction was first brought up again post-pandemic, principal Bailey shared how there is disagreement over that. 

     “That is debated in our district. It depends on who you talk to, as to the answer of when that conversation started. So that part of the communication is very jumbled right now,” said Bailey. 

     Another thing to note is that contract negotiations between TTEA and the district ended just a few months before the reduction was declared. The tentative contract agreement was reached on January 21. In an interview with The Paw, union president Scott Heron suggested meetings over ‘staffing’ were first brought up in February but there had yet to be a plan put in front of them. 

     “We probably were at our last negotiation meeting before it got really serious about where things were going to go, and we settled. And then they (the district) turn around and do this (declare a reduction),” exclaimed Heron in an interview at the rally on May 22. 



“Class size matters”

     A big concern with teachers and union members across the district is how class sizes will grow. Many teachers had this on their minds at the May 22 rally.

     “We really need to have the low class sizes, especially after covid and all of the impact that has had on our kids. The kids are very needy and having increased class sizes is going to be detrimental,” shared Pam Soderquist, a first grade teacher at Tualatin Elementary School. 

     Principal Bailey explained that the target average class size for Tigard High School will be 26.5 students per teacher; a number supposedly smaller than neighboring high schools, but bigger than what Tigard has seen in the last few years. 

     “There will be some larger classes across the school. What I can tell you is that our target of 26.5 is still on the smaller side for most districts in our area,” shared Bailey. 

     Although our classes may be smaller, Tigard students raise concern about the reduction to teachers and how that will affect the classroom environment. Senior Lakyn Reed finds benefit in more student to teacher interaction, and worries this will change with a larger class size.

     “I know in larger classes it’s hard to feel seen or included,” Reed shared. 

     Concerns have also been raised over how this will affect students who need more support in the classroom. Junior Sam Edwards explained why this might happen.

     “Students who have a hard time paying attention are definitely going to suffer because the teachers are going to have to focus on a lot more,” said Edwards. 

Resources to stay informed

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2023-24 Proposed Budget

Budget FAQ (Created by district)