Too many to teach? 'There’s just simply not enough space'

Too many to teach? 'There’s just simply not enough space' »Play Video
Sunset High School Principal John Huelskamp carries this sign in his truck. (KATU photo)

CEDAR MILLS, Ore. – Sunset High School junior Dominic Black is working on a documentary about his school.

Not for a grade, for his little sister.

“What school has become this year, I don’t want that to be her four-year experience of high school,” Black said.

What school has become, Black said, is stressful. Students are worrying about teachers instead of grades, he said. In some classes students have to sit on the floor.

“There’s just simply not enough space,” said Black.

The Beaverton School District cut 37 million dollars from its budget last year. Nearly 100 teachers lost their jobs. Eleven of those layoffs were at Sunset. Now some class sizes have jumped to 40, 50 and even 60 students.

Now students, teachers and Sunset Principal John Huelskamp are doing whatever they can to make sure voters know how badly they need more funding.

Huelskamp’s truck has a sign in it that says “Say yes to our schools. 52 students in a class is too many!”

“The sign is just my desire to make sure our community is aware,” Huelskamp said. “I wanted to be able to say that I had done what I could to help educate and inform out community.”

Exactly what Black and his friends want to do with their documentary. He doesn’t know when it will be finished, but he said hopefully in time for the May 21 election, when voters will decide on a levy that would give the district $15 million a year for five years. The cost for voters is based on their property value. Residents in the district would pay an extra $1.25 per year for every $1,000 of assessed property value.