Mayor needs to getreal about Salem

Mayor Tom Potter needs to stop the coffee klatch commiserating with other mayors around the state about education funding and start leading a political hardball effort to change it (Rethinking Portland Public Schools, Feb. 24).

Potter needs to learn how government and politics are played in our state capital. Education is just another special interest group. If you want more money for your group you need to count to 31 in the House and 16 in the Senate. Don't have the votes? Then do what every other group does Ñ 'buy' them.

Potter and the Portland school board need to hire a professional team, give it the money you would throw at the schools for some temporary relief and tell it to recruit and support candidates who will vote for its education funding bill if elected. Don't ask them if they support abortion, school prayer, creationism or unlimited presidential power.

If they promise to vote for your school funding bill give them lots of money and lots of support. That's how everybody else does it. That's how the system works. That's democracy in action. Stop whining. Stop taxing. Potter and the Portland school board need to start playing the political game like they know what they're doing.

Like it or not, we need to recognize the reality that the crisis in equitable and sufficient public education funding, as perceived by Portland's mayor et al., must be solved by our state government, not local or federal government.

Like it or not, we need to recognize the reality that those districts that are satisfied with their share of school funding are not going to easily or willingly change what they feel they 'deserve.'

Unless a significant number of those interested in 'correcting' the long-term imbalance of school funding in Portland can be persuaded to play political hardball, we are doomed to replay this short-term funding game ad nauseam ad infinitum.

Richard Ellmyer

North Portland

Let's see the researchthat backs changes

Portland schools Superintendent Vicki Phillips says that the proposal to close 11 neighborhood schools and consolidate many into K-8 will 'best enhance educational opportunities for students.'

I would like to see the 'solid research' that proves this to be true. Are schools with 500 or more students better educationally and socially/emotionally than schools with under 300 students? Where is the research that proves this? Is it better educationally and socially/emotionally to mix young children with teenagers?

If Phillips and the school board can cite specific studies that show that this will enhance the education of Portland's children, then maybe I can support it. Until I see clear evidence from other cities that have done this and thrived because of it I will fight it every step of the way.

Ariel Tindolph

Southwest Portland