Readers' letters: Weighing in on local races before Election Day
We need transparency, not excuses
As a longtime resident of the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, I have major concerns about the district/board's financial management and transparency. They blamed their auditor for delays causing what will be $26 million in frozen state school funds and terminated the auditor, but it turns out the auditor had found material weaknesses, management deficiencies and failures.
Likewise, the school board blamed the bank when our tax rates increased after approving the 2019 $206 million bond. We were promised they would not. We were also told the bond was needed because of enrollment increases, but enrollments have decreased — even before COVID. The board's solution? Open enrollment to out-of-district families who don't pay property taxes. And we were promised there would be regular bond audits, but we have yet to see one.
Moody's decreased the district's bond rating because of over-indebtedness and low reserves. Is that why the district is using construction taxes for operating expenses, contrary to law? I also wonder what happened to the $7 million in state construction grant funds WL-WV has received, which didn't appear in financial statements until the most recent budget report.
There have been three auditors in three years. When firing the current auditor, district staff complained about the auditor requesting records related to the bond, grants, etc. It seems the auditor was onto something.
I was a supporter of Board Chair Chelsea King. But I can't support her for Senate District 13 based on the lack of transparency she has shown.
Aaron Woods for Senate District 13
For over a decade, I have been deeply committed to the success of Oregon's students. I served as a three-term board member of the Tigard-Tualatin School District and currently serve on the Oregon School Boards Association Board as Immediate Past President.
When the pandemic hit and students were required to learn remotely, digital access was essential. Aaron has been an advocate for broadband access and digital inclusion long before it was a necessity. Aaron recognizes the links between strong internet access and digital literacy; Aaron will make that a priority to ensure our students and those seeking jobs are well equipped and prepared for the marketplace.
Aaron serves as a community college board member and is active on several committees at the local, state, and national levels providing affordable pathways to family wage jobs and advocating for high school opportunities like advanced placement and career-technical education (CTE) courses. Aaron understands the importance of connecting Oregon's K-12 and higher education systems, so opportunity and success are accessible to our high school graduates. He's an experienced advocate who will hit the ground running in Salem.
Join me in voting for Aaron Woods as our state senator.
Maureen Jefvert Wolf
Immediate Past-President, Oregon School Boards Association - Board of Directors
Member, Northwest Regional Education Service District - Board of Directors
Aaron Woods serves the public, not special interests
West Linn Wilsonville School Board, led by Chair Chelsea King, made troublesome board meeting policy changes in January 2022 to restrict public input. In April, King led the charge to change the boards' Fiscal Accounting and Reporting policy so that financial reports are no longer required for Board review and approval, and subsequently terminated WLWV's auditor, who had reported significant weaknesses and deficiencies, thus making the District's finances even less transparent.
Although "Community Benefits Contracts" are heavily favored by trade unions, they may also increase construction costs and be difficult to enforce and administer. Several trade unions endorsed King shortly shortly after she moved to add "Community Benefit Contracts" to the boards' bidding policy in December 2021. Then King received $20K in campaign contributions from trade unions after she arranged a work session for union representatives to speak about community benefit contracts in April 2022 and did not invite someone with an opposing view. And King received another $16K from a trade union King listed as a "current or former" business client on her LinkedIn page.
Please vote for Aaron Woods.
Former West Linn city councilor and planning commissioner
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