Teachers and education advocates across Oregon plan to walk out on Wednesday to pressure the state into releasing more funds for schools.

The protest has forced several schools around the state, including Oregon’s largest district, Portland Public School, to close for at least half a day. Other districts have planned events to invite community members to discuss the education funding of the state. A few schools have decided to stay open for regular classes, reported Oregon live.

Oregon schools have some of the highest class sizes and the lowest graduation percentage in the US. Some districts have just one librarian and less than the recommended number of counselors. Programs like physical education and music are cut due to lack of funds.

The walk out is the latest in a series of protests by teachers and education advocates pushing for stability in the state’s K-12 funding mechanisms.

The teachers' walk out comes a day after a $1 billion corporate tax package, passed through the House last week, was stalled on Tuesday after Republicans in the Senate failed to show up for the vote. All 12 Republicans were missing, denying the Senate a chance to even cast votes.

Union workers /public school teachers / rally in FL
Union workers and public school teachers rally in Florida, March 2011. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Republicans absence was reportedly a walk out in protest of the tax plan, saying that it would only increase the price of consumer goods without fixing the education system. They also denied the support for any funding package that doesn’t address the pension fund, which has escalated to over $25 billion.

In response to the Republicans' reaction, John Larson, president of the Oregon Education Association said, "Our educators have been trying their hardest to cover up for our funding losses and try to do more with less. We are to a point now that we can't do that anymore. We want to show that Oregon isn't immune to the problems we see in other walkouts throughout the country," reported Education Week.

The recent rally follows a wave of teacher activism that began in 2018. West Virginia started it followed by Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona. Teachers in north and South Carolina marched in their respective state capitols for salary hike last week. Oregon teachers, however, are not pushing for a salary increase but want to highlight the situation of their schools.

Barbara Smith Warner, the Portland Democrat behind the event, said the current school funding formula is not enough for the schools to function. She said, as reported by the Education Week,"Teachers are at a crisis point and are now visually showing the public how bad the situation's become."

Oregon schools have long been dependent on the state funds for education. But they don’t have adequate source of revenue to keep up with the increased expenses.