A vote for Learning Levy supports our kids and the schools
My family moved to Lake Oswego in 1981 when I was 8 years old. When asked why they moved to Lake Oswego my parents would tell people, "we moved for our children — for our excellent schools."
I moved away for college and career opportunities, and when I came back to Oregon, I moved back to Lake Oswego in 2001. When I'm asked why, I tell everyone "we moved back here for our children — and especially for our schools."
The last two years, I have had the honor to serve on Lake Oswego School Board and I get to witness every day the amazing dedication of every single employee — from the school secretaries and bus drivers, to our teachers and principals. Our parents and community step up to help in our schools in so many ways. But I also get to see the amazing dedication and grit of our students.
This is an important week to vote YES on the Lake Oswego Learning Levy. Before you fill out your ballot, here are some of the facts about the levy that you should consider to support our students.
What is the Learning Levy? Voters first passed the Lake Oswego School District Learning Levy in 2000 and have renewed it three times. The Learning Levy currently funds more than 80 teaching, licensed and classified positions, or more than 12% of the district's annual operating budget. If the levy is not renewed Lake Oswego schools stand to lose an average of 8 teaching positions at every school.
What will the 2019 Levy Fund? This levy supports current funding and provides additional strategic resources to hire educators to support advancing career/technical and STEM programs, and to provide academic and individualized social/emotional counseling supports for our students.
Strategic investments include:
1. Mental health supports: The learning levy supports the addition of counselors at every elementary school.
2. School safety: We are tragically reminded all too often of the need to prioritize safety for our schools. The Learning Levy will add a full-time school resource officer — dedicated to working with our local law enforcement to keep our children safe in our schools.
3. Science and Innovation: Our students will be competing for jobs in a global economy. The learning levy will fund add 6 elementary STEAM/Innovation teachers — to start our kids off on the right foot for science inquiry and to prepare for jobs of the future.
4. Reading specialists: The Lake Oswego School District has adopted a motto of "All Means All for Each and Every Child." Adding targeted supports for struggling readers is the best way to move the needle on student success.
In Lake Oswego we pride ourselves as the number one school district in the state of Oregon. I hope my children get the opportunity to go out into the world, experience college, the military or other life experiences. However, when asked the question, why they moved back to Lake Oswego in the year 2031, I hope they say "we moved back here for our children — and for our excellent schools."
Please remember to turn in your ballots by May 21, and please support the Lake Oswego Local Learning Levy!
Rob Wagner is a Lake Oswego School Board member and state senator.
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