Oregon teachers and voters say #NoThanksKnute
Knute Buehler’s education proposal is unpopular with teachers and the general public. Oregon educators reject gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler’s proposal to cut teacher benefits and salaries if he were elected governor. Buehler has said that taking $1.2 billion from the
retirements of teachers and other public employees would be his first order of business.
“Knute Buehler’s plan would slash my retirements 43%,” says Lindsay Dance, a 36-year-old Spanish teacher from Beaverton. “It is disappointing that Knute Buehler has shown himself to be the type of politician who would break the promises made when we were hired to have secure salary and benefits in exchange for our public service. We have devoted our careers to teaching and shouldn’t have that agreement broken, whether we are approaching our golden years or are brand new to the classroom.”
Every teacher working today would see their retirement benefits cut under the Knute Buehler plan and the average reduction is 40%. How much each person would lose depends on their age and length of service.
After cutting $1.2 billion from their compensation, Buehler has proposed that teachers should be given a $250 gift card to buy school supplies. He has also proposed capping teacher salaries.
“Knute Buehler would cut my retirement by 38%,” says Elizabeth Skorohodov, a 47-year old Kindergarten teach from Portland. “A $250 gift card in exchange is insulting. Instead of talking about slashing salary and benefits for teachers we should be talking about ways to fund our
classrooms and give teachers the resources they need to help students succeed.”
In a time when teachers have strong public support across the country in calling for fair wages and benefits, Knute Buehler’s proposals are deeply unpopular with Oregon voters, according to a recent poll. Sixty-two percent oppose funding education improvements through retirement benefit and salary cuts and 56 percent oppose cutting PERS for all public employees. The Buehler plan calls for diverting the 6% of salary that teachers and other public employees pay into their Individual Account Program to pay the state’s pension obligation to retirees. This change would be particularly draconian for members hired since 2003, who have the lowest level of pension and are counting on the IAP as an essential part of their retirement.
All PERS members can get a personalized estimate of how much Knute Buehler would cut their retirements at www.KeepOregonsPromise.org/calculate.