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There's a reason why you aren't hearing arguments against local levy


So, my fellow contrarians, I’ve compiled the major arguments against the levy heard in hushed whispers in the dangerous back alleys of Lake Oswego that none dares to speak aloud until now.

1) My taxes are too high. Of course, this is a renewal at the existing rate, but if you think your taxes are too high already and you need a tax break, you’d like to see the levy fail. I have good news, and then I have even better news. If the levy doesn’t pass, not only will you pay $1.39 per $1,000 less right away (about $41 a month for a $350,000 house), but in pretty short order, when Lake Oswego is no longer a desired destination for people who want to live in a community that values education, your taxes will go way down as the assessed value of your home plummets to more closely match other southwest Portland suburbs. Victory!

2) The school district wastes money. In any large organization, one can find examples of waste, but our district has operated very frugally on very narrow margins for years. It has sold its bus fleet, delayed textbook purchases and closed and consolidated schools, among other measures. And yes — employee costs, mostly teachers — are its major expenditure. Upon reflection, however, everyone should see the value of entrusting the education and care of our community’s future leaders to a staff of highly trained, dedicated, and selfless professionals. Voting against the levy will increase their stress and workload and make our district less of a destination for truly motivated teachers.

3) PERS. There’s not much the district can do about rising PERS costs, which are controlled at the state level. But the good thing about our school levy is that it is one of the few things that gives us local control. Voting no because of PERS is a little misguided and hurts the wrong people.

4) Something bad happened to me/my child in Lake Oswego schools. No one should minimize any trauma or undesired school decision that affected someone personally, and pointing to thousands of student success stories won’t carry much weight. But please, if this is your situation: Consider whether a punitive vote forcing the district to cut costs and slash programs would merely repeat the same situation that happened to you.

Now that you’ve read some compelling arguments against the levy, you can make an informed decision. And clearly, the only logical and reasoned decision is to vote yes for renewal.

A decision to sit out and not vote, or worse — to vote no — may provide a brief thrill of anti-establishment pride, but if Measure 3-434 goes down in defeat, the impact on Lake Oswego, its schools, its people and the community as whole would be devastating.

In this case, contrarians, it is this good and is this important. Vote yes.

John Wallin is a resident of Lake Oswego.