Letters to the Editor
Vote 'yes' twice
As a longtime resident of West Linn, parent of four children in our schools, past member of MAP and current board member of the WLWV Education Foundation, I am asking for your support to pass the school bond and local option levy.
Our current levy funds about 80 teachers and staff, providing effective class sizes and improving educational opportunity for our kids. The loss of this funding would create an undue challenge to the hardworking and dedicated faculty and staff and jeopardize outcomes at all grade levels.
The bond funds a long-range capital improvement plan that I believe is inspired and visionary.
It was thoroughly researched, thoughtfully crafted, and vetted by the community. It solves problems that we face today and effectively plans for those we will face tomorrow.
It addresses safety and security concerns, adds CTE and arts opportunities for our kids, updates facilities and technology, and accommodates anticipated growth across the district.
Our schools are some of the very best in Oregon because our communities value education.
I'm voting "yes" twice, and I encourage you to do the same.
Vote for career education
I am writing this letter to encourage a "yes" vote on Measure 3-555 and Measure 3-554.
If approved, this measure will provide funds to the WL-WV School District to help maintain current class sizes, fund approximately 80 more classroom-licensed teachers, and add various other skill classes to our schools.
Smaller class sizes make a huge difference in the lives of our kids. This creates more opportunities for teacher-to-student engagement in the classroom for discussions and activities, receive timely and specific feedback on work and to be known as valuable, involved individuals.
Students' learning and emotional needs can be better understood and catered to by focused teachers who don't feel overwhelmed by large numbers of students.
These measures also will bring trade-skill classes into our school district — auto mechanics, wood shop, welding, robotics and many more — filling the gap for those students who are not college bound or entering into the military.
These skills have been severely lacking in our current curriculum and we have a chance to change that.
If we truly believe that our children are the future, we need to finance that belief. Please join me in investing in our future by voting "yes" on the local option renewal and bond, too.
District's record is good
I am a former volunteer and school board member. My wife and I are longtime resident of the school district. Our two children attended school in district from kindergarten through grade 12. They received an excellent education and now have successful careers.
The school district has a long history of passing bonds only when needed and completing those projects on time and on budget. Similar to recent bonds, the impact of the two measures now on the ballot (local option 3-554 and capital bond 3-555) will not increase the tax rate for our taxpayers.
We are blessed to have one of the best school districts in the state by any measurement. The district has demonstrated it has an excellent record of spending taxpayers' money responsibly.
I support both measures and urge our citizens to do the same.
Support career pathways
A robust education system that supports children and allows them to flourish is the cornerstone of a strong community. The West Linn-Wilsonville School District provides such a system, educating 10,000 students daily and helping build intelligent, thoughtful community members.
The Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland believes that we must support our children so that they can participate fully in the civic, cultural, business and philanthropic opportunities that our region offers.
The proposed West Linn-Wilsonville School District 2019 Levy & Bond Proposal will help ensure that our students have these opportunities.
The proposal will foster economic development in the region through enhanced career and technical education opportunities.
It will build on existing programs and strengthen options for students to obtain high-earning jobs in skilled trades. These career pathways that offer students exposure to building sciences, construction skills, trades and business management are best positioned to support the work force of the future.
At a time when school safety is of utmost concern, the proposal will also enhance security and add lighting, video monitoring and communication upgrades districtwide.
Join us in supporting the 2019 Levy & Bond Proposal so that our children can continue to receive a world-class education.
Not enough need to vote for bond
I have read the district's long-range facilities plan online. The consultant report shows 2023 needs as 175 primary school, 10 middle school, and 375 high school spaces. But the bond request is for 350 primary, 850 middle, and 200 high school using a total of $152 million from the $206.8 million.
In good conscience, I cannot vote for a costly measure with such a discrepancy, but would hope the district returns next year with a more realistic request.
As I read the report, the immediate problem is the high schools. District high schools currently have a deficit availability of 69 growing to 375 in 2023. But the only direct bond money to relieve this overcrowding is a remodel of WLHS auditorium to add 200 students. (Editor's note: The district's plan to remodel Athey Creek into a small high school is intended to address this crowding.)
Also of concern upon my reading is enrollment classed as "out-of-district" students; 190 at WLHS, 110 at Arts and Technology HS, and 91 at Wilsonville HS for a total of 391 (Figure 29, page 140).
I have no idea of the cross-district legalities, responsibilities and economics (quid pro quo), but 391 is 0.25 of a high school building that is devoted to out-of-district needs.
I see nothing in the 2019 Long Range Facilities Plan showing any near-term physical facilities shortage; certainly not needing $150 million to solve thru a bond measure.
So, I must reluctantly vote "no" as this bond is not a good stewardship of public resources.Add a strong "yes" for 3-555 — continuation of funding for 80 teachers. (I would note WLHS profiles on the publicschoolreview.com website is 75 teachers, 1,809 students and 24:1 student-teacher ratio ). Let's fund as much as possible in the classroom before building more classrooms.
Vote 'yes' this November
I am excited about what the WL-WV School District bond will do.
We can address overcrowding at the primary and high school levels, we can provide career and technical education that will help prepare our kids for the work force of the future, we can provide safety upgrades and thereby a little more peace of mind to parents and students alike, and the state of Oregon will give us an additional $7.6 million if we pass the bond.
I like the return on this investment!
The bond has been structured to bring these improvements to our students without raising the taxpayers' tax rate.
If we don't make these investments now we are merely kicking the can down the road and will face a much bigger tax increase in five years.
We are fortunate that our district is cognizant of our tax rates and has kept them flat for the last 12-plus years. If you look at neighboring districts like Sherwood or Lake Oswego, these communities have faced significant tax increases by not addressing facility needs as they occurred.
Our district is extending our investments and is doing more with less over time. Join me in voting yes twice this November for our schools and students.
Help our students
As a member of the Clackamas Community College Board, I'm grateful to the West Linn-Wilsonville School District for partnering with CCC to provide equitable, affordable, accessible pathways to college and career.
The district's bond proposal should offer good opportunities to maximize that partnership through career and technical education programs that will articulate into CCC college and career programs.
With any proposal there are many decisions and tradeoffs. The district's website offers resources to understand the bond's evolution, including the dstrict's high school study, long-range plan, and capital projects list at https://www.wlwv.k12.or.us/
On balance, the bond takes into account the many needs of all students.
There are ongoing opportunities for you to provide input to the district to ensure transparency and accountability: meetings of the School Board, Budget Committee, and Long Range Planning Committee, which also provides bond oversight. Better yet, apply or run for any of these positions.
The levy will continue teaching positions that are vital for addressing class size and student achievement.
I'm so grateful for this community's engagement and support of our district and Clackamas Community College, and expect the measures will help our students achieve and thrive.
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