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There are things all of us can do to help kids

In these days of reduced staff, the help of involved parents and volunteers around the school can make an incredible difference
by: Submitted photo MARGARET DOHERTY

Happy beginning of the school year!

Although I bet more than a few of my younger constituents are likely to roll their eyes when I say this, I still miss the first day of school. It has been a while since I was a teacher, but I remember the sound of all the kids trampling into the building and how challenging it was to get everything ready for them. But it all paid off when they walked through that classroom door on the first day of classes.

It's not just teachers who work hard to get everything ready. Our custodians, principals, cooks, office personnel, district administrators and staff, bus drivers and instructional assistants all work hard to make sure that our schools are a healthy, happy and safe place for our kids to learn. As always, I want to thank these hard-working men and women for everything they do.

These days there are fewer resources than there used to be. We have fewer teachers and instructional assistants, larger class sizes and more buildings in need of repair. We need to keep working to ensure our kids receive the best education possible. That is why I continue to fight for more funding for education.

While I continue to fight for our schools in the Legislature in Salem, there are things all of us can do right now to help out our kids. In these days of reduced staff, the help of involved parents and volunteers around the school can make an incredible difference. There are opportunities to assist on the playground, in the classroom and elsewhere in the schools.

If you want to volunteer for your schools, you can call your local neighborhood school or the Tigard-Tualatin School District at 503-431-4083.

Schools aren't the only places to volunteer to help out kids and our community. I have volunteered for years at the Tigard Public Library checking in books, shelving and most recently, helping to assist with kids who have been assigned community service by Tigard's peer court system.

If you want to volunteer to help out in the city, please call 503-718-2412. To volunteer at the library, call 503-718-2516. It is a great way to give back to your community.

In addition to your volunteering, we also need your ideas. That is why I am holding an open town hall on education tonight (Thursday). Tigard-Tualatin School District Superintendent Rob Saxton will join me there. It will be the perfect place to come and give suggestions, or get your questions answered about how education in Oregon works. The town hall is at Tigard City Hall (13125 S.W. Hall Blvd.) from 7 to 8 p.m.

Making a community healthy is about more than simply ensuring our kids are educated. We need to make sure the world is ready for our students when they graduate. That means we need to continue our efforts to create jobs here in Oregon.

Oregon has been creating more and more private sector jobs, and we now rate among one of the best states for private sector job growth. While the national economy continues to try to drag our state down, Oregon is still slowly moving forward. Even as our unemployment numbers remain unacceptably high, there are bright spots. The Legislature needs to continue to fight to protect this trend, with legislation like the Jobs and Transportation Act of 2009.

The path ahead for Oregon may be bumpy and uneven, but together we will cross it and come out an even stronger state.

I want to end with a little plug for culture. During the first days of October, it will be time for the 'Days of Culture' event. All across Oregon, there will be hundreds of cultural events. Including right here at home in beautiful Tigard. These events make perfect family nights, or great date ideas! You can find out more at oregondaysofcutlure.org.

I look forward to representing you in Salem this upcoming February and continuing to work with the people of Tigard to make sure it continues to be a great place to call home.

If you have any questions or concerns about your state government, please don't hesitate to call my office at 971-258-8002, or email me at rep.margaretdoherty

@state.or.us