There is no question that the financial challenges our community is facing today are daunting. Job losses and cutbacks have been pervasive in both the private and public sectors since 2008. It should not be a surprise to anyone that our schools are under ever-increasing pressure to reduce spending. This is an unfortunate and unavoidable consequence of the current funding model for Oregon public schools.
Now more than ever, Lake Oswego needs representatives who will demand budget and process transparency, while embracing public discourse and open innovation. If you share these values, please cast your vote for me on May 17th for position No. 5 of the Lake Oswego School Board.
As elected representatives of the community, Lake Oswego School Board members are entrusted with managing the $86 million budget of the school district. They are responsible for making the decisions and setting the policies that guide the district administration. In order to be effective, board members must not only oversee the budget, but must also be capable of picking it apart and collaborating with the budget committee on financial details and decisions. With an MBA in finance and over 12 years of corporate finance experience, I have the skills necessary to be an integral part of this process.
In recent months we have witnessed the LO School District roll out several controversial consolidation scenarios. I am proud of the large number of concerned community members who in response have stepped up to offer help. The Foundation has raised over $2.1 million so far this year. The city has contributed nearly $2 million in additional funding. But even more inspirational are the large number of educated parents who are eager to get involved, to offer creative ideas, and to ask tough questions of the budgetary process. I believe strongly that this kind of broad community-based insight should be embraced as an invaluable resource to our district.
During this campaign many people have asked me about the board's decision-making process regarding consolidation options, as well as other school issues. Unfortunately the process is perceived by many as lacking transparency. As a school board member, I will strive to improve open dialog with the community, particularly when the board's decisions will have broad impact. I will seek out and listen to the concerns and creative ideas that are abundant in our community. I will evaluate and respond to them in a transparent, thoughtful and intelligent manner.
I also believe that balanced representation is critical to any elected body. With two young children, ages 6 and 3, I will provide a direct voice for our younger students and families which are currently unrepresented by our school board. I am motivated to seek out balanced long-term solutions in order to keep our schools and community exceptional for years to come.
Tamara DiVergilio, Lake Oswego, is running for position No. 5 on the Lake Oswego School Board.