In regard to Brian Bittke's letter of Jan. 10, I'd like to offer another perspective on the school board's construction tax.

I'd like to ask Mr. Bittke if he has noticed any other prices going up lately? Has the price for gas gone up? What did he pay for his last TV? What about a new car or the cost it takes to maintain an ever-growing number of roads for the city? And don't start me on the cost of a gallon of milk or a four-year education at a university. What I am getting at is that things get more expensive.

But investing in our community is something that offers far more return than any consumer goods. With the population exploding and the expectations in education getting more expansive, costs go up. The shift toward an information economy demands better access to more technologies and materials. As economic growth becomes more dependent on the 'Information Age' educated people, countries (and localities) with the better educated youth will fare far better than those who leave school funding as a bottom priority. A great school system is a magnet for growth and invites a creative and inspired focus for the entire community.

How much is too much?

By running down a list of expenditures for education, Mr. Bittke is simply repeating himself. Yes, things cost money. And seeing to the needs of the community via good schools, well funded and provided for, is a sound investment.

When he states in his letter 'Enough is enough. There will never be sufficient funds to satisfy the school board,' I have to wonder, what is his experience providing for inclusive, fast growth education systems?

And what private company doesn't wish they could better control costs, but short of us outsourcing our students to India for their education (the private sector has done well with that solution I suppose) I can't imagine the costs of providing a first class education declining.

In fact, I imagine that the free market system would encourage good school systems to invest even more - to get better. Just as the private sector is forced to do.

No one likes to pay more for anything, but some things have far greater returns and are worth the investment. I'm sure there are plenty of third-world economies that would be happy to accept Mr. Bittke's brand of civic thinking.

I see far too much value in having a first-class education system than to point fingers at administrators and faculty employed to build a better educational system, compete in a free market for students and parents and be forward looking enough to provide resources to cover the expanding needs of educating youth in the 21st century.

Mark Fearing is a West Linn resident.

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