An op-ed piece by Ginger Fitch, Chair, West Linn-Wilsonville School Board
and Chelsea Martin, Vice-Chair, West Linn-Wilsonville School Board. Reprinted by permission of the authors.
Voters, you need to know that the Oregon School Boards Association, Oregon Education Association, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers Oregon, Head Start, Oregon PTA and numerous other groups who care about education have all strongly endorsed a “yes” vote on Measure 101.
Why are educators and education advocates for a “yes” on Measure 101? It’s because anyone who works with children knows that our students learn best when they are healthy and have healthcare. Our students miss fewer days of school when they can see a doctor, get medications and are not worried about other family members who lack healthcare. Our students with disabilities are more likely to reach their full potential when they can access appropriate services through healthcare providers. Our students who experience trauma need access to affordable mental health services. Measure 101 continues the Oregon Legislature’s plan to provide those services to our students and families while also providing adequate funding to schools.
If Measure 101 doesn’t pass, Oregon would be at risk of losing millions in federal matching funds, and the legislature will have to again look to the general fund to pay for healthcare. Our district would likely see a reduction in state payments because our payments come from the general fund. That would hurt all of our students.
Representative Julie Parrish (West Linn), one of the chief opponents of Measure 101, is not representing the best interests of the students in our district when she proactively works to break our Medicaid system. The statements Rep. Parrish is making about how Measure 101 will affect schools are simply not true. We had already planned and passed our budget for this biennium. The uncertainty created by unstable funding to our public schools by undoing this legislation hurts our ability to hire teachers and plan for growth.
A “yes” on Measure 101 allows the West Linn-Wilsonville School District to negotiate from a place of strength with our own insurance company and to know the maximum exposure to our budget. Representative Parrish didn’t ask her own school district about what’s best for our students on this issue.
There is a reason so many associations and boards connected with public school districts are asking for your “yes” vote on Measure 101: it is overwhelmingly the right thing for our school children.
DISCLAIMER: Although we are members of the Board of Directors of the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, views expressed in this op-ed do not necessarily represent the opinions or positions of the school district, its board or employees.