Oregon schools late pickup fine. Right or Wrong?

Some Oregon schools have implemented a policy that fines parents when they are more than 10 minutes late in picking up their child from school. Readers were asked if they agree with the policy. By a 4 to 1 ratio the answer was a resounding “no”.

Yes 220, 22%
No 760, 78%
Total Respondents: 980

But, is the problem with the schools or with the parents, and who should be responsible for the children?

The Woodmere school found out one day after the fine policy was implemented.

Excuses for late pick up grew to be more and more common. Parent scheduling a doctor appointment at the same time as pickup knowing the school would watch their child for the hour till they were done. Another was simply sleeping. Some children waiting for sometimes an hour not knowing what was happening and the school unable to reach the parents.

Would the fines make a difference? The Woodmere School in Portland found out last year. The day after they implemented the policy and notice was sent home to the parent there was not one late pickup.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 44 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Sarah

    Fact: Teachers work hard and are underpaid.
    Fact: They have a contract that says they can go home when their long, hard work day is done.
    Fact: If parents don’t pick up their kids, then the teachers have to watch them.
    Fact: Unless paid overtime, the teachers will go home and leave the kids unsupervised.
    Fact: Parents MUST pick up their kids on time or pay the price.

    End of discussion.

    • Steve Plunk

      We’re not children to be lectured to. I realize teachers are not used to people who will stand up for their position but when dealing with the public they should prepare for it. For too long we have felt sorry for teachers and the myth of long hours for little pay. After seeing so many of them down at the country club, retiring at 53, and bankrupting the state through PERS our sympathy is gone.

      • Anonymous

        So, you’re hanging around “down at the country club” with a bunch of underaged school retirees? You must be, what, about 77 years old?

        • Steve Plunk

          49. But what does that matter?

          • Anonymous

            So, underaged company owners who retire early to hang around at the country club (or do other things with their free time) shouldn’t throw too many stones at public employees who do the same.

          • Steve Plunk

            No, teachers shouldn’t complain about being underpaid and overworked if they can afford memberships to country clubs and retire at 53. It’s not that hard to understand.

          • Anonymous

            A straw man — the article was about lunkhead parents using the schools as baby-sitting services — made up out of fiction — the supposed legions of underaged retired teachers hanging out with you — I presume that’s how you have so much knowledge of the situation — with you and the other fat cats at your country club. (Or now am I the one who’s making up supposed facts?)

          • Steve Plunk

            Now you’re just avoiding responsibility.

            My statement was a response to Sarah’s claim of teachers working hard and being underpaid. That’s not a straw man, she made the statement so I didn’t make up anything. I have seen the working and retired teachers who are members of the local country club, that’s factual. You need to hone your skills in public debate.

          • Anonymous

            It must be nice to be so conceited. And you made up the BS about the country club teachers, not me.

            By the way, I don’t think Sarah is a teacher at all. When I read that, my first thought was “Jerry’s back!”

          • Steve Plunk

            Intelligence and common sense bring confidence not conceit. I didn’t make up the country club facts, been there, seen ’em, know ’em. You should be more careful about your claims when you don’t know the facts.

            I would suggest asking Sarah if she is a teacher rather than speculate.

            And remember the first rule of holes, stop digging now that you’re in one.

    • Ben Mathews

      Don’t state something as a fact unless it really is. My father was a teacher and an awfully good one. But he was far from underpaid. I sat down about 10 years ago and tried to adjust his work schedule and benefits to what a normal person works. When I took into account the long summer break and incredible health and retirement benefits I figured I would have to make some were around $100,000/year to enjoy a similar level of total compensation.

      • eagle eye

        So if the pay, hours etc for the job is so great, why didn’t you become a schoolteacher yourself?

        • Rupert in Springfield

          You probably want to stay away from that argument – teachers on a pay/hours basis make more than a hell of a lot of other professions, architects etc.

          Just because someone doesn’t do a job doesn’t mean the pay is low. You are not a doctor or a lawyer, but I sure hope you aren’t going to argue that those jobs don’t pay well.

          Pay versus hours worked when talking about teachers is a guaranteed fail.

          • a retired professor

            The pay per hour for teachers argument is very dubious. It doesn’t take into account factors like preparation for class, grading, time spent during summer on professional work.

            My experience has been that most students in the sciences in bachelor’s programs — not talking about Ph.D.’s — have little interest in teaching in K-12. They cite the low pay, poor working conditions. Of course, the science teachers’ pay is limited by union factors. Still, there is little indication that students starting out see K-12 teacching as any kind of plum or easy job.

      • Saber

        If you add in retirement you would have to make 150K

        • Ben Mathews

          No, I accounted for all that. He made about 50K/year which was the top of the pay scale. Masters degree, continuing education credits, 20+ years and all that. The adjustments I did were to try and account for the value of his vacation time, retirement package, and medical benefits. I figured if he worked year round and got four weeks instead of three months of vacation and then he paid for his some portion of his retirement and medical that an equivalent amount would be about 100K/year.

    • Duh?

      Your facts are myths.

    • Anonymous

      FACT: A fine is a “taking” by the government, which is prohibited without due process of law under the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >A fine is a “taking” by the government

        Who in the world ever told you that?

        A fine has absolutely nothing at all to do with a “taking”.

        Taxes levy’s and tariffs are specifically mentioned within the constitution as within the governments powers so this concept that they are somehow a “taking” has zero merit.

  • JR

    Fact: Oregon’s per-pupil spending is #5 in the nation
    Fact: Oregon’s ACT test scores rank #30
    Fact: Oregon’s teacher compensation/benefits rank #4 in Percentage By Which Average Teacher’s State Wages Exceeded Average Worker’s Wages
    Fact: Oregon ranks #5 for Percentage By Which Average Teacher’s State Wages Exceeded Average Worker’s Wages
    Fact: Oregon ranks #18 in starting salary, #14 in average salary, #14 in ‘salary comfort index’.
    Fact: Oregon Education Association (union) bears #2 responsibility for all facts.
    Fact: Oregon’s public school teachers bear #1 responsibility.
    Lie: Oregon teachers are underpaid.

    When Oregon teachers can start delivering (since they have little to worry about financially), they can start fining parents for their failure to arrive on time. Naivete` is no excuse for obvious ignorance.

    • Anonymous

      Your first “fact” — ‘Oregon’s per-pupil spending is #5 in the nation’ — is nonsense. I stopped right there. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • JR

        The number is based on the ‘all-funds/per pupil’ figure of >$10,000; it is correct based on the national rankings a/o school year 2008 for the numbers reported.

        If you want to play ‘hide-the-integer’ with our bureaucrats’ accounting sleight of hand, I hope you enjoy sand in your teeth…

        Ignorance is not a disease; it’s a choice.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t know where you dug up your “statistics” but if you don’t know that Oregon school expenditures per pupil are somewhere in the middle of the pack, then you are simply ignorant. There might be some way someone can torture the data into saying we’re #5 — perhaps you can come up with the explanation — but if so, it’s completely misleading. As we all know, there are endless ways for liars to use statistics.

          • JR

            “Middle of the pack” is the misleading number that does not include the ‘all-funds’ figures. Your statement is ostrich-like, given the comment you’re referring to states that clearly.

            The statistics are easily verified with a web search.

            As I write repeatedly, “Use that tool in front of you!”

            Also as I wrote: Ignorance is a choice.

            Does the sand get up the nose as well?

  • Rupert in Springfield

    I think this is a good idea.

    The schools are there to teach not to baby sit. If the parents insist on using the schools as a baby sitting service because they can’t get it together to pick up their child then they should be prepared to pay for it.

  • Anonymous

    FACT: Bears eat beets. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

  • Steve Plunk

    I wonder if I could fine a teacher or a school for not doing what they are supposed to be doing? How about my city council? Could I fine the legislature for not fixing PERS? Oh my goodness where will it end?

  • K.J. Hinton

    FACT: there is no shortage of teachers.
    FACT: if teachers didn’t make enough…. really enough for their 183 day or so per year job…. there would be a shortage of teachers.
    FACT: teachers whine incessantly about their pay, which you would have thought they’d have looked into BEFORE THEY TOOK THE FRICKING JOB..
    FACT: if teachers don’t like what they’re paid, they need to quit.
    FACT: schools believe they can exceed their boundaries whenever the mood strikes; taking girls to get abortions, suspending students for what they may write in their FaceBooks or what have you.
    FACT: as earlier pointed out, the school has no legal right to fine anyone for anything. I almost wish I had kids going to that school just to try out their peculiar brand of tyranny.

    End of discussion.


    • Anonymous

      wow, talk about whiners — this place attracts the biggest whiners around — just look at what happens when their taxes get raised a little bit — a bunch of sour losers.

      • Steve Plunk

        So a comment section in a political website is not the place to talk politics? Discussing issues is not whining and people politically engaged are not whiners.

        • Anonymous

          Look, the guy made about a half dozen largely stupid comments — I picked the one about “whiners” and made an observation about the clientele here.

          • Steve Plunk

            But you’re wrong. There in lies the problem. You have consistently been wrong with what you post.

  • rural resident

    Here are some FACTS:

    1. Teachers’ contract days end after 7 1/2 hours.
    2. Supervising students *during* their workday is part of their contractual obligation; supervising students *after* hours is NOT.
    3. Teachers and administrators can lock up the school buildings and go home at the end of their workday, regardless of who is still around.

    Based on the comments of many of the folks here, that is exactly what they should do. Forget the fines. Just lock up and leave. My guess is that parents won’t arrive to find locked up buildings and unsupervised kids very many times before they’ll get their act together.

    It’s interesting that people like Steve, who continually gripe about schools not focusing sufficiently on academics, are now upset because those same schools are pushing back against the idea of being day care centers.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >Teachers and administrators can lock up the school buildings and go home at the end of their workday, regardless of who is still around.

      Actually they can’t, unless they want to be sued into oblivion as that would be negligent.

      The kids are in their care and they have a responsibility to that, both moral and legal. That means someone has to stay with the kids, but it they are also entitled to be compensated for that.

      If teachers are so grossly underpaid, there should be no sortage of those willing to pick up some extra bucks from the fine kitty.

      The burden here is irresponsible parents placing a strain on the rest of society. A parent who can’t get their act together to pick up the kids is placing hardship on everyone else, the teachers who have to stay late, and society for the extra costs involved in that.

      • rural residents

        Actually, Rupert, the *teachers* can leave. If we’re talking about elementary school kids, the *administrators* might have to stay, but the teachers and classified staff are free to leave at the end of a normal work day unless there are faculty meetings or previously scheduled parent/teacher conferences–and even those are limited to some extent.

        Based on your logic, if parents want to drop their kids off at 4 a.m., teachers would have to begin their workday at that time. Not likely.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >Based on your logic, if parents want to drop their kids off at 4 a.m., teachers would have to begin their workday at that time. Not likely.

          And not likely my logic would lead to that as it is totally erroneous. If I drop my kids off at 4am, it fails the reasonable person test because no reasonable person would expect teachers to be there.

          The teachers might be under lesser obligation than administrators, however if the lone person at the school is a teacher, say if all the administrators are away, then they would be obligated to stay.

          If they want to leave, fine, but they could expect to probably lose their house as well as their job if any misfortune happened to the kids. It would be about as clear cut a case of negligence as one could find.

          The reason why is three fold:

          Could a reasonable person have foreseen the event? – Yes, most would be able to foresee that leaving several 1st graders unattended at the end of the day would result in their harm.

          Did the person act in a reasonable fashion to avoid the event? – No. saying ones contract only requires X hours a day is not something a reasonable person would do in this situation. (this is where your example fails btw. No reasonable person would expect dropping kids off several hours early for school results in a compulsion on the teachers part to meet them there )

          Did the person have responsibility for the event? – Yes, the children were delivered unto the teachers care, thus they had responsibility. (this again is where your example fails, dropping the kids off several hours early is not rendering them unto the teachers care)

          Id love to see a teacher try your approach – The smack down would be amazing. If they lost their house they would probably consider it a win. Id expect there would probably be a little jail time as well.

          • valley p

            Never happened before, and probably never will again, but I agree with Rupert twice in one day. Teachers probably can’t legally just leave the little rug rats tied to the flagpole and go home, and it is appropriate for schools to charge parents who are late to pick up Bobby or Suzie. Otherwise these parents are shifting costs onto others unfairly. Bad form.

          • rural resident

            When all of the administrators are gone at the same time (unlikely in an urban setting like Portland), the principal and/or superintendent is responsible for designating a “teacher in charge.” This person assumes a certain degree of administrative power and responsibility and is the one who would have to stay. Everyone else is free to go.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Everyone else is free to go.

            Nope – the kids have been left in their care and they have to exercise due diligence in that care.

            Walking off and saying its the administrators job is not exercising such diligence, thus they are not free to leave until they find one. If they can, great, if not, they are staying.

            If teachers want to leave because its quitting time, they should first of all get used to being treated not as professionals, but as workers who punch a time clock. They should also get used to what a jail cell looks like because they are headed there.

          • valley p

            Well, maybe agreeing with you was too weird to last. I think Rural resident is correct. If a school has a designated teacher in charge, and the few students who have not been picked up on time are left with that adult in a safe place, then, the school has met its obligations. There is no need to have every single teacher stay.

            The kids, Rupert, have been left in the care of the school. The individual teacher is an employee of the school. The administrators are the ones who run the school. If the school administration finds ways other than having each teacher stay on late and that works, then great. Case closed. Why insist every teacher has to stay? That is an irrational argument for inefficiency.

            Professionals by the way, are workers who bill and get paid by the hour, just like teachers.

            As for the jail cell crack…who can say what it is supposed to mean? Teachers are headed to jail cells? Whatever.

  • anonymouse

    Parents if you do not pick up your children law enforcement & CPS will be notified that you have abandoned your child. CPS will put the child in a foster home with someone who can take care of them.

    Your child is your responsibility. If you can’t be responsible for a child don’t have one.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >Otherwise these parents are shifting costs onto others unfairly. Bad form.


  • a_mariinsky

    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  • Pat Ryan

    In reply to the original question, why is it 10 minutes? No question that if the parents are causing the rest of us to pay for overtime, they need to be assessed something for that, but if you upped it to a half hour or forty five minutes (assuming that there is some staff that’s still on the clock), you might make the whole problem go away.

    Reminds me of the photo ticketing at intersections, where, if you add 2 seconds to the amber light, the number of tickets go down, and the number of accidents go down, but then so does revenue. Can’t have that, can we…………?

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