I am an 11-year resident of Molalla. I helped my wife raise three of her children, and they each learned their ABC’s at Rural Dell elementary. Also, I am a teacher at MHS, so we can conclude that I am not wealthy; our household pretty much lives on enough to get through the year.

I am voting YES for Molalla’s School Bond even though, financially, it will hurt, nor will I, or anyone in my family, directly enjoy the proposed school improvements.

Here’s why:

I believe in sacrificing for my community. Improving the educational environment is the most obvious way to help people with whom I share the streets, the businesses, and the smiles. It is obvious because one-third of Molalla’s population is directly associated with the schools, including students, parents, staff, bus drivers, and others.

Providing the best for our young people—indeed, Molalla’s future—is my moral responsibility. Students of all ages deserve bright, clean, and up-to-date environments in which to learn, grow, and become adults.

Here are facts, based on research, that show the many positive impacts.

PROPERTY VALUE: New schools in Molalla will increase the value of our property. Each and every one. Successful and motivated people are always attracted to positive spaces for their children to learn.

JOBS AND ECONOMY: During the nearly two years of building and improving schools, it will increase economic activity across the board; this benefits everyone.

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: Improved educational environments improves student achievement. “In a set of 20 studies analyzed by the 21st Century School Fund, all but one showed a positive correlation between the achievement of students and the condition of the school facility” (Center for Innovative School Facilities 2011).

HEALTH: “Sick Building Syndrome” is a thing. Google it. “There is a growing body of work linking student performance to the quality of air that students breathe in schools.” New facilities improves the health of our community’s children, as well as dozens of administrators, teachers, and staff.

TEACHER RETENTION: “The benefits of facility improvement for teacher retention can be equal to, or even greater, than those from pay increases” (J. Buckley, M. Schneider, & Y. Shang 2004).

OUR GROWING COMMUNITY: Our community is growing, and it will not slow down. We already need to expand our learning spaces; postponing it will actually worsen student achievement.

Each point listed above benefits thousands of children right here in Molalla, as well as property owners and rent-paying residents alike.

Consider: there is zero evidence that indicates new schools and improvements will have a negative impact on the community. All evidence indicates improvements for everyone. Please research the actual benefits before voting on Molalla’s School Bond.

— John Flavin is a teacher at Molalla High School.

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