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Readers chime in regarding the West Linn-Wilsonville School District and its upcoming candidate election

Support those involved in schools

My wife and I graduated from WLHS. We are raising our family in West Linn because we want to provide our children with the same exceptional education we received. We support Regan Molatore, Grady Nelson and Trey Maust for school board. They have been actively involved in our schools, across the district, and know our communities. West Linn residents please be aware that school board candidate Mike Taylor is actively promoting sending WLHS students to Lakeridge, even taking his cause to the superintendents of each district and to the WLWV School Board. Anyone who thinks this is a viable option does not understand our community or what we want for our students.

Taylor does not belong on our school board. In addition, candidates Ginger Fitch and Dylan Hydes aligned campaigns with Taylor (a look at their joint endorsements in the voter's pamphlet as well as their joint distribution of door to door materials evidences alignment). I would urge you not support these like-minded candidates. We need to keep our WL students in WL schools.

Regan Molatore, Grady Nelson and Trey Maust know WLWV and will put our interests first.

Darin Shelstad

West Linn

Legislative town hall

Thursday, April 20, Kim Thatcher, Rich Vial and Bill Kennemer held a Town Hall meeting in Wilsonville, to let local voters know what they were doing in Salem as of late.The Town Hall was held, even though it was rumored that some activist 'thugs' were coming in from Portland to break up the event.To the credit of the City Manager and the Chief of Police, a uniformed officer was present to keep things in hand. This one sergeant stood outside and greeted each and every person as they walked into the chambers. This speaks volumes for the professionalism of the Wilsonville Police.While there were a number of OurOregon 'activists' present, the representatives holding the meeting did not buy into their arguments/questions, and kept the meeting on track. Kudos to the City of Wilsonville, and to our state representatives, for holding the Town Hall and serving the voters.

Steven Criss

Beaverton

Fitch, Hydes dedicated to kids

I urge everyone to vote for Ginger Fitch and Dylan Hydes for West Linn-Wilsonville School Board. Ginger and Dylan are dedicated to the improvement of education for all children and will work diligently to improve the current level of quality education in our school district.Both candidates are parents to children in West Linn-Wilsonville schools, and both are active in the community. Dylan was a middle school teacher, is currently a small business owner/attorney, and finds time to be a Little League coach. Ginger is a legal advocate for children and adults and has been a Girl Scout Troop Leader and has served on various other community boards.I'm confident that Dylan and Ginger will advocate for children, build relationships with parents and teachers, and work hard to ensure our schools are the best in the state. Please join with me to vote for Ginger Fitch and Dylan Hydes.

Anita Gregory

Wilsonville

Must you go there?

On Facebook, Regan Molatore challenged her opponent, Mike Taylor, for "disseminating misinformation" and "failing to meaningfully participate in our WLWV schools in the 74 years of his life." She added, "It's no wonder he has trouble grasping the truth." I showed the post to my daughters. My ninth-grader asked, "Why did she bring up age, especially when that means Mr. Taylor could have a broader perspective?" My seventh-grader added, "She needs to provide evidence that demonstrates that her experience is more relevant than his." Especially for school board, that's where debate should remain focused: on relevant experience, policy positions, and vision for the future. Mike Taylor brings relevant experience beyond devoting time in schools as a coach and leader, of which he has done plenty. Mike served on the Lake Oswego City Council and Planning Commission, and had a diverse, successful career grounded in teamwork. Mike has had two grandchildren in our schools for many years, which is why he moved one town over and got involved. I support his experience, eagerness to listen and learn, passion to lead and ability to collaborate and his effort to join our school board.

Carl Brody

West Linn

How old is too old to voice the truth?

At any age one may boldly change one's community by voicing the truth, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai being one example.

Mike Taylor has been married longer than his opponent has been alive, and four years ago he started studying what can be done to improve the lives of Oregon's school children from a policy stand point. He helped develop statewide policy, and peered deep into the budget process and long range planning of his local school district: West Linn-Wilsonville.

What he saw about overcrowding worried him. What a friend from the budget committee showed him alarmed him. When he asked for exact numbers to plot the impact of out-of-district transfers, he was rebuffed. But slowly he pieced out a puzzle. While the district furiously built new schools to alleviate overcrowding, over 600 out-of-district transfer students had been allowed in.

Now, Mike is running for school board. His opponent recently posted what struck me as an insult about his age on her Facebook page.

Old, new, borrowed, blue.

I don't care what he is, since his thoughts and words ring true.

For transparent budgets, wise planning, and ideas, please choose Mike Taylor.

Rebecca Adams

West Linn

Molatore puts needs of kids first

As a parent of three children in the WLWV school district, I am writing to encourage your support in re-electing Regan Molatore to the WLVW School Board. Regan is a responsible leader who both listens to and cares about the needs of our community.

We experienced her caring and professional nature firsthand when we found ourselves working with the WLWV school board to resolve a challenging situation. Regan was instrumental, in not only resolving the issue but also, in putting the needs of children first. She has a strong working knowledge within our school system and years of experience on the school board. Her dedication to the children and families of WLWV shines through in every accomplishment.

Please vote for Regan Molatore for WLWV School Board on May 16.

Jessica Young

West Linn

Candidates cross political spectrum

A Republican, Independent, and Democrat walked into a school board meeting.

No, that's not the start of a bad joke. In today's political climate however, it's something more akin to a unicorn sighting. While school board races are supposed to be non-partisan, the voter's pamphlet shows they are anything but.

That's why it's refreshing to see three individuals, Regan Molatore, Grady Nelson, and Trey Maust campaigning together across the political spectrum with a student-focused, family-centered, and fiscally-responsible agenda for West Linn-Wilsonville School Board. Together, they've logged countless hours volunteering for the district. As parents with children attending district schools, they're deeply connected to the school community. And they all have proven to be effective leaders in their roles serving the district and in their professional lives.

Molatore brings four years as a school board member and current vice-chair. She's helped navigate a major bond project and a school boundary process. Nelson has not only served as a long-range planning and boundary committee member, he's been a PTA president. Maust, with a finance background, brings an eye to the budget committee that will be needed on the board in upcoming budget years where the district could see shortfalls due to rising PERS and healthcare costs.

If three candidates from three different political affiliations are willing to campaign together to do what's right for our kids, it's a good sign they'll be willing to govern together on our school board in a manner that prioritizes community over ideology. Please give them your vote!

Rep. Julie Parrish

West Linn

Molatore has deep committment to kids

As a parent and as a former superintendent I want to thank all who volunteer to serve as school board members and to share my support for Regan Molatore's continued service in that role. Regan's leadership reflects a deep commitment to children and is seeing that each has opportunity and access to the school experiences necessary to achieve the compelling vision and goals she has helped to develop on behalf of our school community.

Results-oriented and a strong collaborator, Regan responsibly and professionally holds staff accountable for focusing on their goals and during her term on the Board West Linn-Wilsonville students have graduated at unprecedented rates — higher than any school in Oregon our size. Thoughtful and inclusive, Regan senses the complexity of the work and considers information from many points of view in analyzing the issues facing our school community. This has made her an effective advisor in budgeting and staffing through a recession and unstable funding, in advising critical long-range facilities planning and bonding processes, and in supporting excellence in teaching and learning at all levels.

Thank you for your support for schools and for Regan's committed and experienced leadership.

Bill Rhoades

West Linn

Vote for Taylor, Hydes and Fitch

As a professional public educator who has observed our school board meetings I believe we have a rare opportunity in three unique individuals to bring their unique skills and dedication which will assist all student groups to draw the most effective and efficient results for all.

We need the most forward thinking, hardest working and creative minds to continue to move our public schools forward with the continual restrictions before it. Talent, knowledge, commitment can't be formed after the fact as situations and plans are required continually to move students' opportunities forward. Mike Taylor, Position 1, Dylan Hydes, Position 3 and Ginger Fitch, Position 5 are the individuals who have demonstrated  their skills and concerns to work for all students. The three are willing and able to represent citizen taxpayers, business interests, student, family and essentially the total community instead of a singular segment of our community. This advantage in qualified leaders will continually be utilized as the students who graduate from our schools move into their next educational goals to serve our society.

There cannot be too many individuals who are willing and qualified to spend the time and effort for our children.

Diana Cubbage

West Linn

Vote for experience, knowledge

There is an important school board election May 16th. Please consider the climate of education funding when voting for candidates.

State funding of schools is predicted to be cut the next 2-4 years. Cuts, coupled with rising PERS costs (July 1 rates increase to 31 percent for Tier 1 and 2 employees and 26 percent for OPSRP employees), will result in less funds available for students across the state.

Our school board needs leaders who have experience and knowledge of our district operations, district budgets and community's values in education. Our next school board will have to make some tough choices on how to fund our classrooms with less resources.

We cannot afford to have inexperienced board members, who lack relationships with our administration and community, making decisions. Only three candidates are prepared for the challenges ahead: Regan Sonnen Molatore, Grady Nelson and Trey Maust. Regan has leadership experience serving on the school board for the past four years. Grady knows our schools and facilities serving on the Long Range Planning Committee and Bond Oversight the past three years. Trey has detailed knowledge of our school budgets serving on the Budget Committee for five years. Join me in voting: Regan Sonnen Molatore, Grady Nelson and Trey Maust.

Jesse Culp

Wilsonville

Fitch strives for communication

I believe that Ginger Fitch would be an asset to the West Linn-Wilsonville School District. Ginger is easy going and communicates well during times of conflict. During my own times of strife I have gone to her for guidance. She has always shown great care and conveyed a sense of peace while guiding me. Sharing the knowledge she has gained as a legal advocate she confidently confirmed my rights as a mother. Plus, my daughter's rights as a minor. She also took time to be beside me during meetings to help me face my problems. I trust that she will do the same for our schools and the families she serves. I believe she is the correct choice for the West Linn-Wilsonville School District.

Lynda Andre

Wilsonville

Hydes, Fitch, Taylor will provide oversight

As a former member of the WL-WV School District budget committee, I've learned of an apparently new accounting practice there which concerns me. "Get the money now but show it on the books later" is suspect and inconsistent with management protocols in other districts. The "pleasant surprise" of a healthy year-end surplus is closer to financial sleight of hand. This must stop. This is just one of the reasons I am so pleased to see fresh viewpoints in the school board race. We need Dylan Hydes, Ginger Fitch and Mike Taylor providing experienced oversight. The kids will benefit and so will the taxpayers.

Peter Toll

Lake Oswego

Fitch is the best choice for our kids

Having kids of a similar age in the same activities at the same school has given me the opportunity to see Ginger Fitch advocate for the students of West Linn-Wilsonville schools first hand. Ginger is a stalwart supporter of educating every child in the way they need to be educated so that our schools are not simply making great students, but also producing great citizens and community members.

Ginger is a proponent of community involvement and has walked that talk by participating in countless school and community programs. Having seen the energy she brings to conversations about education, I can say without a doubt that Ginger Fitch's advocacy as a school board member is exactly what we need to ensure West Linn-Wilsonville will continue to rank as one of the best districts in the Pacific Northwest. Please vote for Ginger Fitch and Dylan Hydes for West Linn-Wilsonville School Board.

Ray Lister

Wilsonville

Taylor asks the right questions

I can speak from firsthand experience that Mike Taylor would be a valuable addition to the WLWV School Board. He cares deeply about providing students with the highest quality education and has the skills to ensure our tax dollars are spent as wisely as possible. As a former teacher, I especially appreciate his desire to lower class sizes and provide a learning environment where students are more likely to thrive. I know he'll ask the right questions, delve into the details, and stay focused on giving our kids a top notch education. Please vote for Taylor for Position 1.

Marge Easley

Wilsonville

Hydes is a hard-working advocate for kids

My husband and I met Dylan Hydes and his family six years ago. We know the Hydes family well. For those who have not met Dylan, we would like to share with you the reasons we are strongly supporting Dylan for WLWV School Board.

Dylan is a person who asks a lot of questions until he thoroughly understands an issue. He thinks creatively to overcome challenges, and is eager to obtain input from others. No matter one's beliefs, Dylan will listen and speak respectfully.

I believe so strongly in Dylan that I have attached my two-year old daughter, Madison, to my back and walked my neighborhood to tell my neighbors about Dylan, and what he could offer the school board. My seven-year old attends Bolton Elementary, and I trust Dylan to keep this district moving in the best direction for both of my children.

Finally, it has been impressive to watch Dylan put together this campaign. He has tackled this challenge the same way he approaches his law practice, coaching little league, and volunteering. Dylan's work ethic and passion for helping kids is tremendous.

I am asking you to please join me in voting for Dylan Hydes for school board.

Jennifer Holmes

West Linn

Mike Taylor is an exceptional candidate

After recently listening to Mike Taylor speak I have come away impressed. He expressed a concrete and well thought-out message explaining how he would move our school district from 'good' to 'exceptional.'  

Mike has the management, accounting and overall business experience to ensure our Administration will be transparent and accountable.  I especially like his ideas for metrics and a forensic audit to make certain our children are receiving the maximum instructional dollars.  Mike would also like to see an improved web site so parents and taxpayers can more easily stay informed.  He has expressed his concern regarding the current school board accomplishments — with the exception of 650 transfers.  He's not afraid to ask the tough questions.  

Mike does not have children in the district, but he DOES have grandchildren.  And he is on the sidelines rain or shine to support them in their educational endeavors.  He cares about our kids. We need his experience, knowledge and commitment on our School Board.  

He is working for an EXCEPTIONAL education for our kids... and he is EXCEPTIONAL himself.  Please vote and elect Mike Taylor for Position 1, WLWV School District Board. 

Jan Anderson

West Linn

Taylor, Hydes and Fitch the right combination

I am proud to endorse Mike Taylor, Dylan Hydes and Ginger Fitch for WLWV School Board because they care so much about the quality of our children's education and have the right combination of knowledge, personal skills and wisdom to make a difference. All three candidates know how important it is to listen and work closely with parents, teachers and administrators on ways to protect the strengths of the system while also taking an honest look at ways to improve the quality and viability of our children's school system for now and in the future. Please be sure to vote for Mike Taylor, Dylan Hydes and Ginger Fitch.

Teri Cummings

West Linn city councilor

Good listeners make great leaders

For the past two years, I have gotten to know Dylan Hydes and his family as our third-graders have been in the same class. I know Dylan to be a thoughtful, hardworking, and active member of our community.

This past year, I have watched with concern as our school district attempted to redraw middle school boundary lines in a manner that felt rushed, secretive, and would have disrupted many neighborhoods, including my own of Willamette. I understand school boundary lines must be periodically redrawn, and doing so will inevitably leave some people unhappy. Having said that, opening the process up to more people, engaging in a meaningful dialogue with our families and working through the process in an open manner will likely produce better results and happier families. I know Dylan, and I know he will work towards these principles of openness and inclusion.

 Dylan is also running with Ginger Fitch, a longtime legal advocate for neglected and abused children. I urge your support of Ms. Fitch. Our school district would be well-served by Dylan and Ginger—independent, thoughtful people who are good listeners as well as good leaders. Please join me in voting for Dylan and Ginger.

Troy Inman

West Linn

District should use reserves in classrooms

It takes time, but when it involves our students, you have to do your own research on the School Budget, you always need somebody to cross check what is actually happening.

First the West Linn-Wilsonville School District is not running deficit spending (sorry School Board). The annual audits have shown the annual ending fund balance increasing every year since 2013 (much of this is due to increased Local Option Property Tax Revenue that is not budgeted for, which is not being used to reduce class size) now to the amount of $6,196,907 in the ending fund balance.

Some will say this 2016/17 year the district is spending more than they are bringing in. Really? The school district is receiving $3.72 million more than was budgeted last May, 2016.

The school district has been provided information from Oregon Rising that $8.4 billion is needed for no cuts. The current State Budget is $600 million below the no cuts level. This will mean a need for $4.43 million needed for West Linn-Wilsonville will be needed to avoid cuts — wait that's less than what is received in the local option. So why are cuts still coming?

With one new middle school next year the district and the school board is budgeting for no new teachers for any of the middle schools. Athey and Rosemont have had nominal decreases (so no cuts?). So it would leave Wood with a transfer of teachers to Meridian. But there are many classes in middle school where there is only one teacher staffed for the position per middle school (choir, band, foreign languages, art, etc.) so one could assume in order to hire no additional staff there will need to be a shuttle just to run daily between Wood and Meridian for teachers. Or increase in class size at all of the middle schools? Do we have to wait until after the elections to find out?

For a district that has had revenue increases of more than $5 million dollars (average) per year for the past four years, and $3.1 million increase in staff and benefits (per the audit), wouldn't that leave $2 million to reduce class size, or does the community not matter?

John McCabe

West Linn

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