'Oregon legislators must avoid the temptation to snuff out community-based efforts to supplement public school budgets that are being severely reduced due to state budget cuts.
'Instead, the Legislature should set ground rules for how education funds can be raised locally and how they should be distributed.
'Some rural Oregon lawmakers are angry over the city of Portland's efforts to independently raise funds for Portland Public Schools. É But it is the Legislature's challenge to define for communities what steps they can take on their own. Lawmakers then must monitor local revenue streams to ensure against gross inequities between regions of the state.
'É If carefully crafted, such legislation can help preserve the concept of equalized education so that no student is left behind.'
Ñ From 'Legislators should aid local school efforts,' an editorial published by the Times Newspapers on March 13
'The inconvenience of considering Oregon one state united is grating on a few Portland-based commentators lately.
'É Some legislators and opinion-makers are quick these days to note that taxpayers in metropolitan Portland export their dollars to Eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon and the coast. The most recently quoted statistics are these: Of approximately $1.7 billion in school taxes paid by residents of the three metro area counties, about $400 million is siphoned off to subsidize schools in such ungrateful places as Klamath Falls, Coos Bay and Baker City.
'É This Portland-centric view, however, omits a few minor details Ñ such as the entire history of our state, its development and the evolution of its school-financing system.
'É Before arriving at this juncture, the metropolitan area, burdened by its own rising property tax bills, ensured maximum damage on 'the other Oregon' by approving Measure 5 over the objections of rural residents.
'É Up until recently, the symbiosis between rural and urban Oregon has been the central fact of this state's existence. Natural resources, produced in rural Oregon, sustained the Portland area. Today's manufacturing base, centered more than ever in the metro area, is located here because of the transportation and utility system that was built by the old economy.
'In Oregon, urban without rural would be the yin without the yang. Lawmakers and smug commentators who believe this state's school-funding troubles are the result of rural selfishness need to return to school themselves for a refresher course in Oregon history.'
Ñ From 'Remember: A divided Oregon will not succeed,'
an editorial published March 13
in the West Linn Tidings