The Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce urges you to support our community and economy by voting 'yes' for Beaverton School District's Local Option Levy 34-193.

The chamber consists of over 600 businesses and more than 49,000 employees ranging from large corporations to small businesses. We have always supported excellent schools as a foundation to a healthy business and economic environment.

Voting 'yes' simply makes good business sense. Strong support for our schools is critical if you care about our economy and good jobs for our community. Business decisions are made with schools in mind. Companies locate and expand here because they can hire and attract well-educated employees and be assured that their employees' children have access to a quality education.

The Beaverton School District Board is proposing a five-year local option levy that could provide the district with additional operating funds to offset teacher and educational program reductions. In the last four years, the Beaverton School District has reduced its budget by $105 million, raising class sizes and cutting educational programs.

The local option levy does not restore the cuts already made, but could raise about $14 million per year, generating an estimated $70 million over five years - 100 percent of levy proceeds would be spent in classrooms for teachers and educational programs.

Our school district is fiscally responsible to the citizens. In 2004, the district received more state taxes than projected and the board chose not to collect the second year of the local option tax approved by the voters.

We are confident that as our economy improves and more state funding is available, the school district will respond appropriately.

This levy is important for our schools and is key to the livability and safety of our neighborhoods, as well as our economic future.

Please continue your support for strong schools. Vote 'yes' on Measure 34-193!

Lorraine Clarno serves as president of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce.

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