Gervais School District has been underfunded for decades - it's time to change that.

"If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow."

— Alfie Kohn, education expert, speaker and parent

Parents and Oregon educators work hard for our children on so many levels. The Gervais School District has spent decades providing a safe, supportive and accepting environment in which our children can learn. They have been underfunded for years and have had to piece together deteriorating buildings.

It's past time for voters to work together to pass a bond to ensure the Gervais educational system and community flourishes. This will cost each of us little compared to the benefits for our children — preschool through high school — for years to come as well as being a source of pride for the whole Gervais community.

In addition to providing desperately needed funds for repairs and updates to building facilities, if we pass the bond, the state of Oregon will grant $4 million in additional funding.

The advantages of a small school district and local decision-making are numerous. Our two children each found acceptance and support in whatever they chose to pursue, whether it was participating in sports, the local and statewide reading competition Battle of the Books, the Pentagames math competition or promoting community events such as the Sidewalk Chalk Festival and fundraising for Kids Making Miracles through the Mr. and Miss Gervais Pageant.

There are numerous Gervais graduates over the years, including our children and their friends, who have gone on to college or trade school and have successful careers in a range of fields.

Gervais schools encourage students to tap into their potential and take risks. They learn to win and lose with grace. Our daughter was recruited to kick for the football team her senior year, in addition to playing soccer. That sort of opportunity and support is rare. Gervais is a special place where kids can find unconditional acceptance and community support.

Many of us have persevered through the past couple years thanks to our Better Together approach. It's time for all of us to step up and support the children and the educators who serve them by voting "yes" on the proposed Gervais School District Bond.

As Gervais expands, many will share the cost. A thriving district requires the support of the community, and communities prosper when their children do.

Please vote "yes" in May to support Gervais students and those who work so hard to keep them safe, accepted and educated.

Karen Herinckx is a Gervais education fan, past teacher mentor and parent.

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