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Measure 'provides critical funding directly to our 10 Lake Oswego schools'


This week citizens who reside in the Lake Oswego School District will receive a ballot for the Nov. 5 election that asks voters for their continued support of our local schools.

By voting yes on ballot Measure 3-434, citizens can renew the Lake Oswego school levy. Zebrowski

This is a simple renewal of an existing levy and is not a tax increase. This levy was established in 2000 and has been reaffirmed by our town in 2004 and 2008. It provides critical funding directly to our 10 Lake Oswego schools and it is a major reason that Lake Oswego has been able to provide the strong public education that our citizens deserve and expect.

Over the past months, many newspapers and local TV news hours have featured stories about declining test scores and low graduation rates. A bright spot is often our neighborhood school district where Lake Oswego continues to excel and defy many of these negative trends. While we are blessed with fabulous kids and wonderful, involved families, our schools are also strongly supported and nurtured by our community.

The Lake Oswego school levy provides more than 10 percent of our annual school budget. These funds make a big difference for our students. They allow the district to provide smaller class sizes so that our children can acquire critical reading, writing and math skills.

The school levy allows us to provide advanced classes and meaningful electives that prepare our older students for college and careers. These funds also enable our district to fund art, music and civics courses that help build future leaders for our city.

As chairwoman of the Lake Oswego School Board, I have the privilege of seeing the difference these funds make in the lives of all students in our community. I am also a parent who has seen the direct benefit of a Lake Oswego education on my three children. In the next year, I will become an “empty nester” and I will continue to value the impact excellent schools have on attracting young families to our town. Great schools build strong communities. Great schools support our property values.

Funding schools in Oregon is a big challenge. Tax revenues have been severely impacted during the lengthy recession with funds for education cut drastically. The state Legislature worked very hard during the recent special session to address inadequate funding for education. We are very grateful for these efforts and our district will see an increase in funding next year of approximately $1 million and some relief from our PERS expenses the following year. While this is a step in the right direction, it is not enough to restore historical cuts taken and provide adequate future funding levels.

This makes the Lake Oswego school levy even more important to our local schools. When you receive your ballot you will notice that there are only statements in support of the school levy and this support comes from a broad array of citizens and leaders in our community. Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete and mail your ballot and for voting yes on ballot Measure 3-434 in support of our children.

Patti Zebrowski, Lake Oswego, is chairwoman of the Lake Oswego School Board.