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Support strong schools for a strong community

Even if you don’t have children in the Beaverton School District, a yes vote for the school levy is a good investment. Beaverton has always had a reputation for having good, strong schools until this year. After five years of inadequate state funding, which forced $142 million in cuts, the loss of 640 teaching positions and 16 school days, the impact finally reared its ugly head in classrooms across the district this fall. My son, a sophomore at Beaverton High School, does not have a single class with less than 50 students. He often sits on a stool because there are not enough chairs. There are far fewer written projects and presentations being assigned this year because teachers simply don’t have the time to give students the attention needed. It’s hard on everyone to function in such a substandard environment. Students and teachers alike have been praised for dealing with huge classes, loss of services and yet another reduced school year with tremendous grace under pressure. But this is not a sustainable situation. Without passage of this levy, our schools will erode and will no longer be a point of pride in our community. What then? High school graduation rates will drop along with our property values. Our Legislature can and should do more. But our students can’t wait for real PERS reform or better funding from the state. Beaverton’s kids deserve a good education now. They are our future and worth the investment in our community.

Leslee Viehoff

West Slope

Support school levy, take action in Salem on state funding

Regarding: “Levy doesn’t address larger issue of school funding” (May 9, Beaverton Valley Times), such tough love, at the expense of our children’s education, is foolish. Yes, our school funding formula is broken, but let’s keep politics out of our classrooms. Passing the levy is the only solution that we can control to make sure the trajectory for our children’s education makes a turn for the better now. And at the same time, let’s all work to make the other necessary reforms happen — not from the sideline, but with our feet, our voice and our vote.

Lloyd Bernstein

Cedar Mill

Degman has valuable skills to share with School Board

It pleases me to write a letter in support of Linda Degman. I have known Linda for at least eight years and have worked with her on several school volunteer events. She has a passion for kids and education, which makes her a perfect candidate for the job. Beaverton schools would benefit from her tenacity and knowledge concerning the future path of our education system. Her experience in managing a budget and the partnerships she forms will be invaluable tools as a board member. Having children still in the school system also makes her invested and a big reason why she has my vote. Our children and our schools will determine the future, so I’m investing today with Linda Degman.

D. Gawlista

Cedar Mill

Cody will show up to do heavy lifting on THPRD Board

On May 21, we can elect a highly capable individual to the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District Board of Directors. Greg Cody has served selflessly over the years on at least six different THPRD committees and task forces, including chairing the Budget Committee. A man with great passion to create the best parks and recreation facilities possible, Greg has given time, energy, enthusiasm, ideas and hard work to the citizens of the district and still wants to do more: serve as a director. As a THPRD volunteer myself, I’ve known Greg for years and can recommend him unreservedly to the voters. When I served on a special district task force a few years ago, I wanted to get to know Greg’s opponent, who had been appointed to the same task force. But I never got the chance. As I recall, he showed up at just one of the meetings. We need to elect Greg Cody to the district board. He understands the broad range of services offered by THPRD, the budget required to provide those services and will show up to do the heavy lifting. Greg Cody has my vote for the THPRD Board.

Wendy Kroger

Beaverton

Colett shares my priorities as a teacher

As a Beaverton teacher for the past 10 years, I’ve worked hard to challenge all my students to grow as readers, writers and thinkers. Sadly, recent changes in our school system have hurt all teachers’ abilities to do this. Students aren’t getting the attention they need and deserve because of large classes. I support Tom Colett for Beaverton School Board, Zone 7, because he knows the needed changes to rebuild our schools. Tom has already been working tirelessly for our students. I met Tom through his leadership in Beaverton Friends of Music and Beaverton Save Our Schools where he has built an extensive knowledge of our changing budget priorities and their negative consequences in the classroom. If you’ve been to a School Board meeting or public budget forum over the last year, you’ve probably seen Tom. He has visited numerous schools to see their daily workings. Tom has received the endorsement of many Beaverton area legislators because they already know his advocacy for the stable funding our schools need. Tom’s knowledge of the budget process will make sure that all available money goes to the classroom for our students. Tom’s priorities are my priorities as a teacher. He wants smaller classes where I can help struggling students and challenge the ones who excel. I grew up in a world where PE, music, art and technology were normal offerings that helped me grow into who I am today. Tom will prioritize rebuilding these programs so that students get a well-rounded education. Please vote for Tom Colett to bring active, student-centered leadership to our district.

Matthew Bell

Southeast Portland

Cody will hit the ground running on park district board

I am writing to encourage the public to consider voting for Greg Cody for director of the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District. I have known Greg for a number of years as we have attended THPRD Board of Director meetings together, as well as working closely with him for the past few years on the THPRD Budget Committee, where he is serving a second term as chairman. Greg has been or is currently a member of six THPRD advisory or other committees and devotes so much of his free time to helping make the park district one of the finest in the nation. His record of attendance at meetings is exemplary and the level of his involvement with the district over the years cannot be matched. Greg has the knowledge, experience and the proven leadership abilities to work with a diverse set of stakeholders who use the district’s various resources and sites. This position needs someone who can hit the ground running immediately when elected, and that is Greg. I have seen him in action, and his ability to work well with others in a collaborative manner and be a good steward of the district’s limited financial resources makes Greg the obvious choice for this position. Please join me in electing Greg Cody for Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District Board of Directors, Position 2.

Anthony Mills

THPRD Budget and Bond Oversight committees

Allow Degman to keep working on school issues

Beaverton families have been lucky to have Linda Degman on the School Board this past year, and should give her the opportunity to continue working on the important issues at stake. Her experience in the position, as well as in her career with the Portland Community College system and in the school district as a parent volunteer, enable her to bring a unique perspective to the job. I’ve had the privilege of knowing her for over 15 years, and can attest to her work ethic and integrity. She represents all her constituents without favoring any particular group, and she is not using this as a stepping stone for a future political career. Her objective in serving is simply to help make Beaverton schools the best they can be for all our children. Please vote for Linda Degman!

Sally Hunt

Cedar Mill

Take the time and vote for Colett for School Board

As a “highly qualified” teacher for the Beaverton School District, I want to strongly encourage Beaverton residents to take the time to vote for Tom Colett for School Board. I have seen Tom in action and am very impressed by his intelligence. He listens and questions deeply in order to achieve a full understanding of a viewpoint. He is also very detail-oriented in his approach to solving problems. I have full confidence that Tom will act on what needs to be done in order to sustain what works well in Beaverton. He will also be a strong advocate for changing what does not work well. Tom will enhance opportunities for both student learning and teacher professionalism. He is a determined, passionate individual who will go beyond doing his basic homework in order to meet the demands of this position with success. He genuinely cares about Beaverton’s students, parents and educators. This election is an important one for the Beaverton School District. Please, take the time to cast your vote for Tom!

Mary Provost

Lake Oswego

Colett brings fresh ideas on how to lower class sizes

Tom Colett has cemented my vote for School Board.

Many candidates talk about the No. 1 priority of lowering class sizes in Beaverton. Colett proposed the means to do just that. The first proposed Beaverton School District budget scenario includes $4 million cost savings in the central/fund transfers category. The second and third scenarios (which include PERS reform, plus the passing of the local option levy, respectively) include only $2 million cost savings. Colett upheld his commitment to smaller class sizes by asking the Budget Committee to consider maintaining the $4 million cost savings in all budget scenarios. He said this will allow the rehiring of more than 20 teachers.

Our students need smaller class sizes. I urge all voters to put Beaverton students first when voting for new School Board members. We need School Board members like Tom Colett who will put their words into actions.

Laurel Bookhardt

Beaverton

Support Measure 26-152 and help manage natural areas

Taking a double-canoe ride across a lake in search of birds and beavers. Dissecting an owl pellet under a tree. Rolling over logs to meet tiny creatures not always seen. These are just some of the many ways I have been able to connect my son to nature in the Portland area. What all of these learning moments and memories have in common is that they happened at various Metro natural areas, some as programs led by Metro naturalists. Portland has been my home for three years. Regular access to nature within the city is a big reason why my family and I decided to move here. Along with various park districts’ other natural areas, those that Metro secured for public use offer boundless opportunities for my son to express his interest in the natural world. They are places that encourage his curiosity and develop his sense of wonder. We live in a big city, but how lucky for us that it is full of beautiful trails, forests and wetlands. Where else can you walk, bike or drive to places that make you feel you are many miles away from downtown buildings? In 2010, I started sharing our nature experiences through a blog (exploreportlandnature.wordpress.com). Having encouraged other families to explore nearby nature, I support the levy to provide funding for restoration, native habitat protection, and educational opportunities for Metro’s natural areas. In order to provide my son with meaningful experiences in nearby nature, it’s important that natural areas are managed in the proper way. For the many children in the Portland area who have spent time in these places — and many more in the future, including my baby daughter — I encourage you to vote yes on Measure 26-152.

Michael Barton

Southwest Portland



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