Salem teacher union wants input from parents

Salem-Keizer Education Association members rally at the Oregon Capitol in support of increased school funding in February 2019 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)

Teachers in the Salem-Keizer School District want to get input from parents as their union begins plans for bargaining a new contract.

The Salem-Keizer Education Association, which represents more than 2,000 teachers and other licensed educators in district schools, is holding a series of family forums in May to hear from parents and relatives in small groups.

The first is May 12 at McNary High School from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Tyler Scialo-Lakeberg, the union president, said the forums are an effort to help teachers connect with families directly and “partner with the community” as they decide where to focus their bargaining efforts when their current contract expires on June 30, 2023.

She said families often hear from the school district as an entity, but don’t have the chance to speak directly with classroom teachers. The union wants to incorporate parent and community concerns about issues like class size into their bargaining, she said.

“We’ll be just stronger and sometimes it takes that kind of partnership and advocacy,” she said.

Scialo-Lakeberg said the association’s members are concerned about teacher turnover and retention, as well as the growth of administrative and district-level support positions in recent years over adding additional employees in schools who work directly with students.

She’s hoping the upcoming bargaining session can focus on how the district can better use the resources it has.

“We can’t solve all of the ills of public education but we can rewrite the narrative for Salem-Keizer schools,” she said.

Additional sessions are scheduled for May 19 at the East Salem Community Center, May 26 at Crossler Middle School and May 31 at Straub Middle School from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

More information is on the flyers below.

-Rachel Alexander