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'Renew your support' with local option school levy

Please vote yes and renew our local option school levy, Measure 3-434. It’s not just kid stuff.Brown

Supplying about 10 percent of our school district’s total operating budget, by law the existing school levy will expire in 2015. Renewing the school levy now, at the same rate we have been paying, ensures continuity of that critical revenue source until 2020. Those dollars go directly to support instructional programs and services for children in our own Lake Oswego schools. No matter how carefully the budget is managed, our schools cannot absorb a loss of this magnitude without significantly damaging education in Lake Oswego.

Real estate brokers, business owners and professionals, our mayor and city council all agree and join me in urging you to vote yes because strong schools support a strong community. Homes command premium prices in a school district with premium schools, and businesses thrive in a community that places a high value on education. Where children receive a quality education, a brighter future is available to everyone.

Our Lake Oswego community’s reputation for valuing great schools, and for supporting them accordingly, pays us all back in many different ways. Strong local school support assists in the district’s ability to attract and hire topnotch teachers, educators who know their skills and talent in the classroom will be recognized by a community that values their effort and wants them to succeed.

A couple of years ago, when the school district had 11 vacant teaching positions to fill, we had more than 780 applicants. The best of the best were available to us, asking to be hired in Lake Oswego schools.

Great schools attract great residents. Professional business people who are tops in their field want a topnotch education for their children. They move in and invest in us, becoming top-level volunteers, future leaders and strong contributors toward all our other highly valued community endeavors.

Ultimately, passing our local school levy is one way to retain some local control over what our schools are able to offer. For many years now the school board and administration have been forced to address school funding problems brought on by state revenue shortfalls that have been passed on as statewide school revenue shortages.

The district has repeatedly reorganized, restructured, downsized and made very painful choices. But scrupulous financial planning and management, strategic goal setting, cost cutting with careful oversight and strong community support have paid off as demonstrated by the continued high quality performance and achievement of our students.

All of us in the Lake Oswego community, parents and non-parents alike, expect continued academic excellence from our public schools but outstanding schools require adequate funding.

Remember this is not a new tax but a renewal of the school levy that has provided the lifeline of support our state has been reluctant or unable to offer. It has provided profound, critically important benefits to our classrooms and our children in them.

Renew your support, and vote yes on our local option school levy Measure 3-434. It’s not only for our kids.

Linda Brown, Lake Oswego, is a former school board member.




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