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Educational policy is school board's mission

The Hillsboro School Board Directors’ Jan. 12 decision (on a 4-to-3 vote) to oppose an increase of the minimum wage in Oregon is thoroughly uncalled for.

Jaime RodriguezThe vote arose from a budget update, given by HSD Superintendent Mike Scott and included a number of potential future scenarios... one of which is the minimum wage increase.

Educational policy is the school board’s mission. Opposing a measure to raise Oregon’s minimum wage is, by their own description, not their job.

The Hillsboro School District has a published mission statement to, “Engage and challenge all learners to ensure academic excellence.” We can only take the HSD at their own word as to what their job is. As described on their website, “Board members establish policy based on Oregon and Federal laws governing schools. The Board approves policies for the Superintendent to implement.”

Furthermore, “The Board of Directors governs the Hillsboro School District, using a set of written policies that are designed to provide direction to Board members and District employees. The development of Board policies is based on a review of statutes, case law, Oregon Department of Education regulations, and negotiated employee contracts.  The formal adoption and revision of policies is accomplished by Board vote, and recorded in the minutes of the Board meeting. Administrative regulations, authorized by the Superintendent, are developed in order to implement the approved Board policies.”

Nowhere in the above statements is it indicated implicitly or explicitly that the board’s province is taking votes on public policy issues. They’ve never done it before so why now? The answer is obvious. I’m disturbed by this penny-wise and pound foolish approach... and by the majority’s anti-student, anti-family stance. They are not hearing the voice of their own community.

Hillsboro School District has almost 50 percent of its students on free or reduced lunches. A large portion of the parents in this district live under the poverty line, making as little as $9.50 per hour.

A better standard of living is much more conducive to education and the general well-being of our community’s children. That should be the concern of the board’s majority.

As an employer, the HSD Board of Directors has told their low-wage earners, “We could care less about you.”

The board has made it very clear that the welfare of its own employees is a non-issue and that a living wage for them is not part of district policy.

A raise in the minimum wage would produce significantly higher tax revenues for the state and, therefore the state’s education budget.

The Jan. 12 vote was not about the education budget but about politics, pure and simple. The additional tax revenues from an increase in the minimum wage would grow the state’s education budget.

This would easily make up for a district budget shortfall and more if the increase is passed.

Students would live in better housing, have more food and be more prepared to learn. Many studies have shown given stable housing and nourishment students succeed in school.