2/12/2013 12:44:00 PM Letters to the Editor 02/13/2013
To the Editor:
Excellent. Outstanding. Eclectic. Creative. Well-rounded. Unique. Full of opportunities. These are just some of the words we heard about the Sisters School District before we decided to move to the Sisters community almost seven years ago. The reputation of the school district was one of the primary reasons we relocated to Sisters rather than any other place in Oregon, and we have not been disappointed.
A major reason for this wonderful reputation is the local option levy, which has been in place since 2000. The local option is up for another vote this year, and we strongly urge you to keep a great thing going by supporting renewal. Due largely to the support of the local community over the years, the quality of education has remained high (test scores among the highest in the state), the graduation rate has remained outstanding (94 percent in high school v. 66.4 percent statewide), the student-teacher ratio is among the best in Oregon (a critical component), and the district has some of the most well-rounded students in the state (e.g., winning the Oregonian Cup this year, awarded to the top 4A HS based on GPA, sportsmanship, and extracurricular activities).
Combine this with the economic benefits of a great education system, and we believe a "yes" vote is deserved.
Please continue this support for our children, and for our wonderful teachers and administrators. Please vote yes on the Sisters Local Option Levy (Measure No. 9-88).
Chris, Tammy, and Natalie Ambrose
To the Editor:
I am writing in support of the local option tax, which will be voted on in March.
I have been a resident of Sisters for the past three years. Like many, I moved here from the Valley to escape the rain. Our oldest son moved here last August with his three children who are currently enrolled in the Sisters School District, one in the elementary school and two in the middle school.
I spent 30-plus years in law enforcement in the Salem/Keizer area, part of which was overseeing the SRO (School Resource Officer) program. The program was funded through local tax dollars. This experience enabled me to gain insight into the school budget process, the true value of an education, and having the students being taught the social skills needed to build relationships with their peers. Our school system provides these and many other opportunities to these students and prepares them for future endeavors.
The state average for students graduating from high school over the last four years through 2012 was 68.4 percent. The average for the Central Oregon schools during the same period was 66.2 percent. Sisters High School, on the other hand, was 94.7 percent during the same timeframe. This is amazing considering the Sisters School District has lost $1 million a year in funding for the past three years. The Sisters School District and their teachers, through hard work and innovative teaching skills were able to do more with less while setting the bar for graduating their seniors. This is very commendable.
The local option tax is not a new tax. This tax has been in effect since 2000 and comes up for a vote every four years. The cost is 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation of your home. I would encourage you to vote yes on the local option.
This is a small price to pay to ensure the stability of the Sisters School District and the future of our kids and grandkids.
To the Editor:
My name is Candyce Park, I've been a resident and voter in Sisters since 1989 and have owned a home on Tamarack for eight years. I have been unemployed for three years other than a brief temporary job with the census, where McKibben was my supervisor. I finally found a steady part-time job last fall working for Ky at Wild Mountain and the money from that job has paid my utilities and kept me from totally relying on the food bank and brown bag program. I have been promised my job would become full-time this summer and Ky has also offered my son, who has Aspergers Syndrome, a part-time position for the summer.
Now I don't think much of the trickle-down theory, but I do know that the money I make working for Ky goes back into this community. My hairdresser would definitely see more of me and I'd be able to buy more than just bananas (at the store) if I can keep working steady.
Over the past 23 years I have watched businesses come and go, and more recently go and go and go... I find it very upsetting that with so many empty storefronts in this town, a business that is actually surviving and employing people, including someone who has special needs, is being pushed out of business by the city and told he has to be shut down. And because of this I am going to lose my job!
It is just my luck. I've been unemployed for so long, now that I have finally found a job the city has told my employer he has to close his doors and move his building off the property just because there are no sidewalks on his side of Locust Street. And there's some silly code that the city refuses to change that says because of this he can't stay in business year-round. Because of that he is probably going to go out of business and both me and my son won't have a job this summer.
I don't get it. With so many empty storefronts in Sisters, there's one business that is actually surviving and employing people is being told they can't. There is a city council meeting this Thursday evening at 7 p.m. I know it's Valentine's Day but I'm hoping many of you will come and show some love in support of local businesses and help me save my job.
To the Editor:
We have four kids in school, the youngest began in kindergarten and the oldest is now a senior at Sisters High School. We have experienced all three schools, we know many of the faculty, and we respect the clear passion for teaching and the tremendous variety of learning that kids are exposed to throughout their Sisters school life.
In 2011, I was fortunate to be recruited as an Aspire volunteer, a mentoring program for high school juniors and seniors as they become immersed in the college admission process. Every student has an opportunity to meet with a volunteer to plan the path for their future and to assure that they hit targeted milestones for the admissions process. Also, students get advice as to "fit" for specific academic interests, co-curricular interests (art/music/sports/student government/etc) plus overall thinking about the transition to college life.
The experience has been richly rewarding.
I met Andrew Snyder at the beginning of his junior year. He was interested in becoming a commissioned officer, thinking about a service academy education. I had taken a similar path many years ago, and he and I worked well together. He seemed to have an uncommon drive and focus to succeed. He never missed a session and impressed me from the first day we met.
Andrew has challenged himself with literally everything that Sisters High School has to offer - very rigorous science and math curricula, challenging AP classes, student government and clubs, as well as being a multi-sport athlete (football and track & field), where he was a team captain in both. I have seen his special drive up close for the last 16 months, wonderful for me to watch and to learn from him.
More importantly, I have seen many young students (our own included) that have such a great opportunity to excel in all facets of school life because of a commitment to education that is second to none. Our schools deserve much of the credit. We are so fortunate as parents, students and residents that we have the opportunity to live here and watch these kids grow up, then move on to contribute to society in many different ways.
Continuing the local option really comes down to what is best for the entire Sisters community. We came to Sisters from Bend because the schools here are more in line with what we wanted for our kids. That hasn't changed.
s s s
To the Editor:
I have never written a letter or made a call to my Congressman or Senator. For the most part, they are expert at double-talk and fending off sensitive subjects, so I am opting to publish this question for a public inquiry.
I have never heard any of you cuss or discuss the American Legislative Exchange Commission, which is a group of lobbyists (as well as some members of Congress and some private corporations like Coca Cola, which recently dropped its membership) whose sole purpose is to sneak legislation onto other bills for other than honorable purposes. Some of these causes are: fighting unions, helping corporations avoiding job-related injuries payments, and creating voting restrictions - all, in my opinion, as nefarious and traitorous as anything in American government.
I understand that there is a group called ALICE which has been formed to fight ALEC. Who and what is ALICE? (See? I have already given you an out!) The recent Bill Moyers revelation about the half-billion "gift" to the Amgen drug company after their three-quarter billion dollar fine for crooked drug dealings is what triggers this inquiry. How about it, Senator? All the work of lobbyists paid for by the company! Do they really have 74?