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By The Skanner News
Published: 25 January 2006

With a potential funding crisis in their near future, school supporters will participate in a rally to call attention to the loss of what could be more than $60 million in school funding for Portland alone.

Parents and community members will rally beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, on the front steps of Benson High School, 546 N.E. 12th Ave.

Parents involved in HOPE (Help Out Public Education) are making hundreds of contacts to rally Portland families and community members to turn out for the demonstration.

Portland Mayor Tom Potter will speak, as well as a parent, student, teacher, community member and business leader. Potter is expected to propose a funding plan to make up for the loss of the three-year Multnomah County income tax, which expires in July. The tax loss could require the lay-off of hundreds of teachers and a reduction of days in the school year over the next five years.

Portland Public Schools and Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose and Reynolds school districts will lose 12 to 18 percent of their budgets when the 1.25 percent county income tax stops. For Portland, that could mean a $37 million loss in its $366 million budget. The district also faces another $32 million reduction with the expiration of a local option property tax, which also expires this year.

The rally on Thursday will allow the community to voice its support for the city's action to help our schools.
Potter would have to submit his plan to the City Council, which faces a Feb. 8 deadline to refer it to the May ballot.

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