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Make sure the next generation has the same great opportunities

by: SUBMITTED - BarmanOne of the great honors of being a school board member is standing on stage handing out diplomas at both our exceptional high schools each June. This year was particularly meaningful to my wife, Katy, and I as our twin sons graduated from Lakeridge.

I spent much of my time at graduation reflecting on the 12-year journey our sons and their classmates successfully completed. I reminisced about the nurturing first-grade teachers who taught my boys, Lindsay Looney and Jan Pearce. I fondly remember all of the parent volunteers who helped in their classrooms. How do you properly thank someone for giving your child the love of reading? I recall Chris’ second-grade teacher, Sharon Odman, encouraging a beginning reader to share his skills as she encouraged the classroom to applaud his success. Every year for 12 years teachers, amazing staff and administrators paved the way for my sons and all their classmates to be their best.

I also thought of my neighbors, Dr. Louis and Judy McCraw and Beth and Dave Moffenbeier, who had long ago graduated their children from our great schools and always continued to be supportive. I canvassed for the local option school levy in 2008 and asked the McCraws and Moffenbeiers to support the renewal. They were “all in” for my kids and our community.

Now it’s time to renew the local option school levy and make sure the next generation has the same great opportunities. I’m asking everyone to be “all in” for our kids and support this renewal. The local option school levy makes up approximately 12 percent of our school budget and without these funds the impact would be devastating.

The local option school levy is one important piece of the budget puzzle, and having the entire community joining together each year has enhanced the richness of my sons’ education. We have fabulous teachers and engaged, committed parents, tutors, coaches and mentors at every school. We have every civic organization committed to not just making Lake Oswego a better place to live but pitching in to make our schools stronger.

Lake Oswego children attend schools where they are expected and encouraged to perform. Not all students in Oregon are as fortunate.

The benefit of having nearly two-thirds of every single citizen in Lake Oswego over the age of 25 having earned a bachelor’s degree and also 27 percent of every citizen over age 25 holding a master’s degree or higher is enormous.

I’m confident we will renew the local option school levy. It is my hope that we can continue to find more ways to leverage the great talent in this community. Let’s encourage more retired teachers and professionals to step forward and help tutor and mentor at every level.

Let’s help all kids with SAT and ACT prep so they can perform at the top of their game and earn admissions and scholarship money.

The local option affords us the ability to offer extra reading teachers for struggling students at each elementary. Our high school students have a rich assortment of classes like beginning engineering, oceanography, Western civilization and 3D art taught by amazing teachers. All these classes are possible because of your past vote to support the local option school levy. Let’s all support the renewal this November.

Bob Barman is a resident of Lake Oswego and serves on the Lake Oswego School Board.

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