Gov. Kitzhaber visits Hood River Wednesday

Gov. John Kitzhaber will visit Hood River today for a meeting he is billing as an “Education Reinvestment Roundtable” at Hood River Middle School.

The event, in the Media Center, is open to the public and starts at 11:15 a.m. and is scheduled to go for one hour. The media center is a separate building located just east of the main campus, 1602 May St..

Kitzhaber will meet with local education and business leaders. He held similar meetings in Salem and in Clackamas County this week.

In a press release, Kitzhaber said he is interested in hearing about the current state of schools and what impact additional dollars from a Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) revenue package could have on Hood River students and educators in the coming school year.

Kitzhaber said the meeting will focus on the question, “Can we put an end to teacher layoffs and lost school days this year?”

According to reporter Harry Esteve on the Oregonian website OregonLive: “The Democratic governor is picking up where he left off in the closing days of the 2013 legislative session, when attempts to cut a deal on Public Employee Retirement System cuts fell short. His goal is to call lawmakers back into special session, providing he can secure enough votes for a PERS cut and a set of tax increases.

“To get there, he needs at least two Republicans in both chambers to get on board. Although Democrats control the Legislature, tax votes require a supermajority to pass.

“In Salem, Kitzhaber will make the case that the school district there would be in far better shape if lawmakers could agree to a set of changes that would carve away some $5 billion in PERS costs over 20 years,” writes Esteve. “To sweeten the deal, he’s pushing for an additional $200 million or so in tax revenues in the short term.”

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