In this time of economic uncertainty, it's tough to feel confident about any investment.

One exception to that worrisome feeling, however, occurs right here in Lake Oswego. It's an investment you can feel secure about. It's one that has been paying big dividends. And it's biggest payoff is linked to our future.

If you want one 'go-to' item on your Nov. 4 vote-by-mail ballot that is a no brainer, vote yes on Measure 3-305, the local option levy.

You want proof of how this investment pays off?

All 13 of the Lake Oswego School District schools are rated 'exceptional' - no other district in the state has that kind of success.

And while you undoubtedly might find yourself in a head-scratching mode on whether you can afford all of the other money measures on the ballot, the local option carries with it an attractive point of fact: It's not an increase, it's a renewal of an existing levy.

In fact, it's the same $1.39 per $1,000 of assessed value that the current levy calls for or as the supporters of the district like to point out: 'It's not a new tax.'

In fact, the measure renews the district's five-year levy at the current rate, then that decreases to $1.14 per thousand when existing debt of $2.25 per $1,000 of assessed value is retired in June 2010 because of revenue limits.

Back in 1999, state legislation gave individual communities like Lake Oswego the ability to supplement state funding for local schools. This is called the local option. In 2000, LOSD votes approved a five year local option levy, then renewed the local option in a vote in 2005. The current ballot measure would renew the levy from 2010 to 2015.

Why now and why is it important?

Teri Oelrich of Supporters of Lake Oswego Schools points out the district is going early for a vote to renew the levy to take advantage of the general election. Because this election is expected to have a significantly high turnout, concerns about the double majority shouldn't be a factor.

The levy provides about 12 percent of the district's operating budget. Between it and the money the community generates for the district through the Lake Oswego School Foundation (pays for about 30 teachers plus their benefits), the Lake Oswego community ensures small teacher-to student ratios, a variety of quality classes and about 94 percent of its graduates heading to college.

If the system isn't broke, don't fix it. In this case, the system is tremendously successful. Keep it as it is.

We strongly recommend voting yes on Measure 3-305, the local option levy.

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