Phyllis and Martin Jacobs moved here more than 50 years ago from Rhode Island, Katy and I moved here from Southern California 23 years ago and Paul Terry and Judy Alamida moved here three months ago from Maui because our jobs relocated our families. Phyllis, Martin, Katy and I have stayed because of the loving embrace and lifelong friendships we have made in this community we all call Lake Oswego. Paul and Judy are hopeful that they too will find great friends and a warm embrace and their beginning has started at the neighborhood schools that are at the center of our community.

All three families had a choice when we moved to Oregon to pick a community that fit our hopes and dreams and we were all driven to Lake Oswego because of the strong community. The magnificent parks, neighborhood schools, library, churches of all denomination, locally owned family restaurants and retail stores made this town the ideal place to raise our families.

Neighborhood public schools, private schools like Our Lady of the Lake and West Side Christian define who we are. We are a community that understands our hopes and dreams for our children begin with a strong education backed by a network of parents who volunteer graciously to make our children and our neighbor's children succeed. It is not just simply left to individual parents in Lake Oswego to study with and promote their children's education but an army of volunteers that give of their time, talent and treasure because of our universal love of this community.

Shirley Wizer is one such individual. Shirley is a retired professional teacher who has volunteered at Palisades Elementary School for years, teaching children who are struggling how to read. Shirley's love and concern for our children defines this great community. Shirley understands and the Lake Oswego School District understands the powerful force volunteers like Shirley offer our children and community. It is because of these efforts we have over 94 percent of our children continuing their education into and beyond college.

All award-winning schools in Lake Oswego - both public and private are sustained not just by tuition or state tax dollars (public schools) - but also by various fundraisers.

Our public schools receive 12 percent or nearly $7 million of its annual budget from what we call the local option. The local option is a state-approved source that communities can approve that directly goes to their local school district. The local option is a small component of your property tax bill. The money is used to lower class sizes, offer extra periods, and increase services for children with special needs. The community of Lake Oswego has voted repeatedly to approve a local option to augment state funding.

What does this option money go toward and is it money well spent? A little known fact is that 85 percent of the entire Lake Oswego School District budget pays for people (teachers, aides, administration, janitors, cafeteria staff etc.) only 15 percent goes toward non-human capital. By voting yes on local option 3-305 we are able to spend almost all the state money toward human capital, which its teachers and classroom support. The local option has allowed our school district to offer the courses we need for a strong college prep community. The renewal is not an increase but a continuation of our history of support. I can't imagine the devastation to our entire community felt neighborhood by neighborhood if we reject measure 3-305. Our schools and community are defined by our generous and continuous support of local public schools.

Please join me in continuing to strengthen our community by voting yes on Local Option 3-305 for our children and our community's future. I want future generations of Martin's, Phyllis's, David's, Judy's, Katy's and Bob's to call Lake Oswego home because of the legacy we continue to build child-by-child and family-by-family.

Bob Barman is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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