Oregon Legislature to look at teachers’ salaries

By on Thursday, November 30th, 2023 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – InterMountain Education Service District Superintendent Mark Mulvihill said that in the wake of the Portland teachers strike, they aren’t wrong when they complain about low pay for educators. Gov. Tina Kotek agrees, calling on the Oregon Legislature to ensure that Oregon’s salaries for teachers is competitive with neighboring states.

“The bottom line is this: We are only as good as the teachers we can hire and retain,” Mulvihill said. “We have to do everything that we can to ensure that that happens.”

Mulvihill remembers the dismal years surrounding the 2008 recession that saw teachers and programs being cut as the state under-funded public education. He said that funding for public education has never been better.

“Yeah, you’re investing more,” he said. “Yeah, you’re giving us increases and yeah, it’s not enough. I mean one of the things they talked about was housing for teachers. I’m even seeing that in our region.”

Mulvihill said in order to attract quality teachers to rural areas, school districts in this region are considering purchasing homes or apartment buildings to provide housing for new teachers. As he said, Oregon’s students need the best.

“The needs of the kids are so significant now,” he said. “We’re still recovering form learning loss during COVID. We’re trying to bring it all back and it costs money. It’s hard to argue when a Portland Public Schools teacher is making $55,000 and they can’t even get an apartment for that in the community.”