President's Message: PPS Budget: Let's Lay the Groundwork for a Better Year

With spring, comes a reminder of new beginnings and possibilities. As we approach the end of this school year, now is the time to lay the groundwork for next school year, and for the change we need to make sure it is a better year for our students, and for the educators and school staff across the District. 

At the district level, the most important step in preparing for next year is determining the budget. The budget will determine how much funding goes toward direct supports to students, including supporting smaller class sizes, special education supports, ELL services, school support staff, and mental health services; how much we invest in custodial and transportation services; how much goes toward central office staff and district-level contractors; and how much goes into reserves. 

This month, PPS is presenting a full budget to the community and to the school board. The District is planning to present an initial budget draft to the school board and the community on April 26th, and to vote on the final budget on June 14th. In the time in between, the public will have the opportunity to review the proposed budget and give feedback. You can see the complete PPS budget calendar here.

Of course, even though the initial budget draft has not yet been presented, PPS has already moved forward with some budget decisions that deeply impact our schools. The District already implemented staffing allocations to reduce the number of elementary and middle-school teachers across the District by at least 90 positions. We know that our students’ needs are greater than ever, and our schools need MORE staff and support next year, not less. 

Additionally, we have heard (and are still awaiting data from the District to confirm) that Special Education staffing will be reduced for next year, even as Special Education professionals are facing crushing workload, and are struggling to meet requirements for students. We have heard concerns that the new staffing model for ELL leaves out support for students who are close to exiting but still require ELL support. We need to allocate funding now to provide students with identified needs all the support they require.

Recently, the Oregon Secretary of State released this follow-up report on the 2019 audit of PPS. Among other things, it recommends that PPS “make its budget more clear and transparent to the public,” and that the board “identify savings areas and direct more money to classrooms.” We agree– rather than cutting teacher positions and adding new central office jobs, we need to concentrate resources where they matter most– in the classroom.

Please join me in thanking Representative Maxine Dexter, for saying so at the PPS board meeting last night. She asked the board to “prioritize the health and education of students above any other consideration, and to do it in sincere partnership with the educators of this District.” 

Although the staffing process has already moved forward, it is not too late for our District to invest in the fully-staffed schools that our students deserve. The budget process is designed to allow community stakeholders to weigh in on how our tax dollars should be used to best support our students, and put words into practice. Educators, parents, and students are the key stakeholders in our schools, and the District’s job is to listen to what we need to make our schools work and match our values.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

Nominations & Elections: Run For Interim seats on the PAT Executive Board

The PAT Nominations & Elections (N&E) Committee announces that there will be an interim election for two PAT Executive Board Director positions on Wednesday, May 11th, 2022 (terms of  July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023).

Nominations for these positions will open at the April RA on April 6th, 2022, and will close at 5:00 PM on Monday, May 2nd, 2022. To nominate yourself for this position, please use this nomination form

 Nomination forms must be submitted electronically to Jennifer Dixon ([email protected]) by 5:00 p.m. on May 2nd, 2022.  Any PAT member in good standing may run for this position. Non-members are not eligible to run for an elected union office. Learn more about Executive Board Director responsibilities.

In accordance with our bylaws, the Representative Assembly will elect the interim directors. Voting will occur at the May 11th Virtual RA. Only elected reps, who are registered for the RA and present during the time of voting, will be permitted to vote. There will be no nominations from the floor due to our online format. 

Candidate speeches will be given at the May RA. The Voters’ Pamphlet and Ballots will be sent electronically to building representatives in attendance at the May 11th PAT RA.

For more information, you can refer to the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook.  

Aspiring Educators of Color Scholarship: Applications Due April 19th

Recruiting, supporting, and retaining educators of color is crucial, for our students and for our profession. We are excited to award two scholarships to Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) seeking a rewarding future career in education. 

  • One $6,000 scholarship will be awarded to a Portland Public Schools graduating senior who plans on enrolling in a college or university program to begin their journey towards becoming an educator.
  • One $6,000 scholarship to a Portland Public Schools employee (not PAT eligible) currently enrolled in a university program to become a certified educator. Any classified or non-represented employees, such as bus drivers, para-educators, community agents, custodians, and nutrition services workers are eligible to apply.

Scholarship applications will be accepted through April 19th, 2022. Please see the links below to download an application and find instructions to apply.

It's Time for PAT Rep Elections

It is time to elect your site’s PAT Building Representatives for next school year! Each site is entitled to one Representative for every nine members.

What do Building Reps do? Our union works because Reps do a lot! That’s why it is important to have a full team of Reps to share the load. 

Here are some of the responsibilities Reps take on: 

  • Come to Representative Assemblies at PAT each month
  • Hold meetings for PAT members at their site
  • Educate members about our contract
  • Advocate to protect member rights and due process
  • Meet with building administrators to solve problems
  • Organize members around issues at your site or in the District 

Ideally, each school has a diverse team of Reps that includes educators from a variety of grade levels and specialties, one that mirrors the racial and gender diversity of your site. Think about who you believe would be a good representative, and talk to them about running, too.

Our building elections are how we ensure that Reps at each site are trusted and respected leaders. It is crucial that members have a voice in who is representing them, and that everyone knows the process and has access to running and voting. If you’re interested in running to be a Rep, let your current Head Rep know.


  • Every site must hold a rep election every year.
  • Only PAT members can vote, and only PAT members can run to be a Rep.
  • Each site should create a ballot and hold their election before the May 11th RA.

For more information (including: How to Hold a Building Rep Election, Instructions for Creating Your Ballot (and the Ballot Template), Where to Report Your Elections Results, etc.), please visit

Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee Update

The Social Justice Community Outreach Committee (SJCO) has a number of upcoming meetings and planning opportunities for our members. If you’ve ever been curious about what we do, we hope you’ll pop in before the year is over to check us out! It’s a great place to connect with other members who are passionate about inclusivity, supporting unions, and actively promoting justice in and out of our district. Here is what to look forward to in the next few months (please RSVP here for any of the meetings):

  • Ramadan has begun! Here is a Ramadan 2022- one pager pdf created by a teacher in Washington that provides guidance on supporting students who are observing this religious holiday.
  • Here are Educator Resources for Arab American Heritage Month to use not only in April, but all year round.
  • Check out this Art and Social Justice, a Student/Family Event, taking place virtually on April 7, 6:30-7:30pm. Mic Crenshaw will moderate a student-friendly discussion with Latoya Lovely (Abernethy educator) and Hobbs Waters about the ways art and social justice interact, followed by a guided art activity for all participants. Please share this event and flier with students and families in grades 3-8!
  • May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. A big thank you to the subcommittee hard at work creating resources for our members! These will be shared later this month.
  • Wednesday April 27, 4:30-6:30pm SJCO Monthly Meeting and LGBTQIA+ and Disability Pride Month (June) subcommittee. This will be the first time SJCO has put together educator resources for this important focus. Please bring your passion and your expertise to help curate lessons, articles, books, and other resources!
  • Thursday May 26, 4:30-6:30pm SJCO Monthly Meeting and Latinx Heritage Month subcommittee. We are happy to get this ball rolling ahead of next school year. It has been tricky to find time before the start of Latinx Heritage Month, as it begins so shortly after the start of school. We have materials from the last two years as a strong base and welcome new resources and ideas.

PAT PAC Endorsements for May Primary

The PAT PAC is proud to announce our endorsement of the following candidates. Learn more about the candidates on our website

Portland City Council

Position 2: AJ McCreary

Position 3: Jo Ann Hardesty

Multnomah County
Chair: Jessica Vega Pederson

District 2: Susheela Jayapal

Metro Council

President: Lynn Peterson

Oregon House of Representatives

HD 28: Dacia Grayber

HD 33: Maxine Dexter

HD 41: Kaliko Castille

HD 43: Tawna Sanchez

HD 44: Travis Nelson

HD 46: Khanh Pham

Oregon Senate:

SD 17: Elizabeth Steiner Hayward

Some opportunities to support our candidates:

The PAT PAC is funded entirely through member contributions, not through dues dollars. Learn more about the PAT PAC here.

Starbucks Workers Solidarity Caravan and Sip-in: Sat. April 16, 2:00-4:00 PM

Starbucks workers around the country, and at nine stores in Portland, have been organizing to unionize. Let's show them some love & encouragement !      

Gather Saturday, April 16, at 2:00 PM at the Westmoreland store (7001 SE Milwaukie) for a rally and sip-in. Car caravan with signs, honking, streamers and balloons to the store at 2880 SE Powell and rally. Sip-in again at 525 NE Grand. 

These are the locations of the nine Starbucks stores where workers are organizing to unionize. Please show workers your support!

  • 16175 SW Walker Rd, Beaverton
  • 2933 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton
  • 7315 SW Garden Home Rd, Portland
  • 2880 SE Powell Blvd, Portland
  • 525 NE Grand Ave, Portland
  • 555 SW Oak St, Portland
  • 2328 W Burnside St, Portland
  • 7001 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland
  • 1555 N Tomahawk Island Dr, Portland

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

  • April 6th, 4:30-6:30 PM: PAT Rep Assembly

PAT Committee Meetings- Join the committee mailing list to receive a Zoom Link.

  • April 13th, 4:30-6:30 PM: IPD Committee Meeting
  • April 20th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Legislative Committee Meeting
  • April 20th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Racial Equity Committee Meeting
  • April 27th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Membership Committee Meeting
  • April 27th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Social Justice/Community Outreach Committee Meeting
  • April 27th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Substitute Committee Meeting

**Unless otherwise noted, all PAT committee meetings will be held virtually on Zoom for the time being

Upcoming OEA Training and Events:

For all upcoming events, please see the PAT calendar and OEA calendar