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West Linn-Wilsonville School District candidate race hits final lap before election

Taylor thinks outside the box

Mike Taylor, a school board candidate, recently told me we are likely to incur a large bond issue for a new high school, which will significantly raise our taxes, and limit options for improving our children's education.

Mike predicts a task force loaded with like thinking appointees will recommend what the School Board wants: a third full-sized high school costing $70 million plus or minus. Beaverton just completed their newest high school for $115 million.

But there is another way. Mike suggested forming an "alternative" committee with volunteers willing to discuss other options that better serve the whole district. One idea would be creating a 200 student STEM magnet building on the Athey Creek property, a trade school attached to Meridian Creek, a performing Arts magnet initiated a Wilsonville High School. No property would be acquired, no athletic fields or coaches, since the magnet students would join existing teams at WL or WV. The cost to handle the projected 400-500 students would be less than half a free standing high school.

Other alternatives are possible. Both the standard and alternative committees would recommend their best solution to the board. Taylor thinks "outside the box". That's just what we need!

Richard Sakelik

West Linn

Mike Taylor saw the need

Back in late 2014 the League of Women Voters of Oregon development team started talking about the discouraging place in the nation where Oregon's educational system remains.

We knew back then, thanks to League volunteers who attend regular budget meetings at the Capitol and the Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP), that Oregon students fall below the national average, in fact, near the bottom of all the states. For instance, Oregon's spending per student is 39th in the nation, and student performance comes in at 38th.

Mike Taylor was a member of the League team that originated the idea to spread the information around the state. Mike was instrumental support and provided solid ideas and guidance. With his help, the project took off and later became known as the Great Schools, Great Communities Project.

We need people to run for office who are aware of the links between a good education and a good economy. Mike Taylor is one of those special people with the desire, the knowledge and skills to bring parties together to listen and work together for the success for Oregon's students and our economy.Vote for Mike Taylor for the School Board!

Robin Wisdom

Roseburg

Molatore knows the numbers

Regan Sonnen Molatore is the more fiscally responsible, qualified and dedicated candidate for WLWV School District Director, Position 1. Her opponent has claimed that she "stood by as the district amassed a $5 million dollar budget surplus while failing to address middle school overcrowding." The truth of the matter is that accountants, auditors and Oregon School Boards Association recommends school districts maintain a reserve between 5-15 percent.

WLWV reserve was almost nonexistent when Regan came onto the board. As a result WLWV was given a negative bond rating because our district was considered a serious financial risk. That makes construction of new schools much more expensive. Under Regan's tenure the district has built a modest reserve of 6 percent of our $94 million dollar budget (the "surplus"). WLWV has the 2nd lowest reserve of public schools in Clackamas County. Many have fund balances above 15 percent.

Your school board also planned for the anticipated decrease in state funding. PERS costs (which are not under the district's control) for some employees will increase to 31 percent and OPSPED costs will increase to 26 percent. You can imagine what would happen without a reserve.

Join me. Vote for Regan Sonnen Molatore!

Michelle Ripple

Wilsonville

Candidates understand complexity of issues

Our communities, West Linn and Wilsonville, have proudly supported our children on the steady road to success. They appreciate the personalized, heroic work of our teachers and leaders.

The essential work of our schools is dependent on wise, coherent, and thoughtful leadership from the school board. In this complex time, like no other, our schools need the leadership of Regan Sonnen Molatore, Trey Maust, and Grady Nelson. Regan demonstrates her sharp, thoughtful critique and forward looking leadership in her current board role.

All three of these candidates worked to gain experience and understanding of the unique complexity of our excellent schools though service to the district schools. They have learned that excellent schools do not happen by accident. They understand the interplay of factors that contribute to our uniquely successful schools.

They all have children in school to keep them grounded in the importance of school to the life our community. These candidates will continue to steward West Linn-Wilsonville excellence forward with knowledge, skill and heart so each child, every child in our care meets success and graduates ready for the wide world.

Jane Stickney

West Linn