Letters to the Editor 5/03/2023


Last updated 5/2/2023 at 10:27am

Support local option for schools

To the Editor:

Please support the Sisters School District, the staff, and most important, the students. Vote yes for measure 9-161, the local option levy.

Don Hedrick

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Seed to Table staff and board members, our organization heartily supports the local option for the Sisters School District. Having an integral role in the schools, we know firsthand how important the sixteen teaching positions are for students. Our education system woven in with programs like IEE, woodworking, farm-based education classes, aviation, and culinary arts are all examples of what makes Sisters schools exemplary. These programs allow for more opportunities for students to find something that fits them and inspires them. 

Even with the local option, Sisters still has lower taxes than all the other Central Oregon school districts. We want folks to know that this is not a new tax but a renewal of the local option in place since 2000. 

Talk to current Sisters students or those who have graduated and moved into careers inspired by the unique classes found in our town, and it’s easy to see what sets Sisters schools apart. I continue to watch students move through school while finding ways that inspire them for years to come. Let’s keep investing in students, spaces for them to find belonging, and our community.

Measure 9-161 is a very important measure for our community; please support it.

Audrey Tehan (founder and executive director for Seed to Table)

Yes on SPRD local option

To the Editor:

As an active senior and local resident, I urge you to vote yes on the Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD) local option levy Ballot Measure 9-160.

For years, SPRD has provided a wide range of activities for every age group. Although COVID-19 hampered in-person participation, the program schedule is back in full swing and new classes are being added all the time. Zumba, ukulele, Lunch and Learn, and tai chi are just a few of the many activities that help keep me healthy and connected to new friends.

This bill is an extension of the current levy, not an increase, and it is money well spent. Please vote yes on the SPRD local option levy, and continue to provide our kids, teens, and adults with opportunities to play, learn, grow, and thrive.

Dixie Eckford

To the Editor:

The Sisters City Council strongly supports the renewal of the Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD) local option levy, Measure 9-160.

In 2018, voters in Sisters approved the initial levy to assist SPRD in providing expanded services far beyond what their minimal tax base could provide. The renewal will extend the first measure’s tax rate of 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for another five years, so a yes vote on Measure 9-160 will not cause an increase in your tax rate.

Despite the shutdowns mandated by Covid-19, SPRD has still managed to increase program offerings, hire new staff, and expand its preschool and after-school programs. This was only possible with the increased funds provided by the original levy.

SPRD is working closely with the School District to create a community center at the current elementary school when the students move to the new school building in 2024. As Council, we know that having a community center is consistently ranked high on community surveys. The planning, preparation, and crafting of agreements to make this possible require the kind of resources which the renewal of this levy will provide.

This levy renewal will allow SPRD to retain experienced staff, address a backlog of facility maintenance, and most importantly, continue to expand regional activities which bring competitors and their families to Sisters, benefiting our local businesses, hotels, and eateries.

The Sisters City Council supports Measure 9-160 to further strengthen SPRD and allow them to continue essential programs in the Sisters community and lay further groundwork for the future.

Mayor Michael Preedin

To the Editor:

I urge you to support renewal of the Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD) local option levy, Measure 9-160. In 2018, voters in Sisters approved the initial levy to assist SPRD in providing expanded services far beyond what their minimal tax base could provide. The renewal will extend the first measure’s tax rate of $.015 per $1000.00 of assessed property value for another four years. A yes vote on Measure 9-160 will not cause an increase in your tax rate.

In spite of the shutdowns mandated by Covid-19, SPRD has still managed to increase program offerings, hire new staff, and expand their preschool and after school programs. This would not have been possible without the increase in funds provided by the original levy.

The levy renewal will allow SPRD to retain experienced staff, continue to address a backlog of facility maintenance, and most importantly continue and expand regional activities which bring competitors and their families to Sisters, benefiting our local businesses, hotels, and eateries.

SPRD is working closely with the School District to create a community center at the current elementary school when the students move to the new elementary school in 2024. This conversion does not occur in a vacuum. It requires the kind of resources, which the renewal of this levy will provide.

As a current city councilor I know that making a community center at the soon-to-be-vacant elementary school is a high priority on community surveys. I am convinced that should this levy not be renewed, SPRD will not have the resources to move forward with this effort, and the community will lose this one-time opportunity.

Please join me in voting yes on Measure 9-106.

Gary Ross

To the Editor:

On May 16, Sisters voters will be asked to renew the Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD) local option. This measure is essential for our community to continue enjoying the luxuries provided by SPRD.

My family is one of many that have benefited from the preschool run by SPRD, multitude of summer camps, and Sisters Outlaws lacrosse program. SPRD allows everyone to participate in activities regardless of means.

Sisters Park and Recreation doesn’t just help out local families but is a resource for everyone. Current offerings for adults include tai chi, ukulele lessons, and a cornhole league, which create new friendships and community.

Vote yes on Measure 9-160 to allow SPRD to grow our community.

Peggy Houge and Darren Root

Gas station

To the Editor:

For months I’ve been reading all the pros and cons for the new Space Age station and store.

That whole corner block is a little bit run down! It needs to be completely paved and landscaped to look as neat as the rest of town. 

I’m not sure what will happen to the produce stand and nursery? Maybe a 3/4-size plan station and store would work and semi-public parking spaces for visitors.

I think the City approved the original plans before they took citizens’ input (cart before horse), so probably too late to change.

Chet Davis

Bilderback and Saunders for school board

To the Editor:

Sisters residents have a unique opportunity to elect two outstanding candidates for the School Board in the upcoming election.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing both Karissa Bilderback and Hilary Saunders for 25 years, first as their Sisters High School English teacher and then throughout their post-high school years. Both women are dynamic and driven.

Karissa and Hilary are passionate about providing positive educational opportunities for all children. They both fondly remember their own Sisters schools experiences and desire the excellence of education that they experienced throughout their school years continue to be available for all children in Sisters. Karissa has children in the School District and Hilary will soon. They both desire to be actively involved in school activities.

They know Sisters schools from the inside. Karissa has been a teacher and a substitute for years; she was my choice for a substitute whenever I needed one. Hilary has pursued her law career, always with the desire to bring reasoned input into what she pursues. Both women have served on various boards in the past and know how to listen and make decisions cooperatively.

These women are intelligent, energetic, humble, and thoughtful. All of these qualities are pertinent for the positions they seek. Please join me in enthusiastically voting for Karissa Bilderback and Hilary Saunders. They will prove themselves to be valuable additions to the Sisters School Board.

Carol Dixon

Bilderback for school board

To the Editor:

Sisters Schools have always been something that our community has taken great pride in: high academic standards, unique educational opportunities, extra-curricular activities, and exceptional teachers, administrators, and School Board members.

This excellence in education is what initially brought many of us to Sisters. On May 16, we have a chance to ensure that our schools remain something we can be proud of, a place that we know the children of our community will be supported and given the tools to think for themselves.

Karissa Bilderback (Sisters High School 2000) is running for School Board Position 3. Karissa brings to the table a long list of qualifications: including a master’s degree in education, experience as a classroom and substitute teacher, SPTC and local option board member. Karissa regularly attends Superintendent Scholl’s monthly coffee talks, as well as monthly School Board meetings. Karissa, with three of her four children enrolled in the District, has a vested interest in the success of our schools.

I am impressed with Karissa’s desired goals of excellence in our schools, beginning the moment a student walks through the door, the setting of high expectations for student accountability and behavior, school safety, teaching our students how to think and not what to think, and providing career pathways for our graduates.

Karissa is a familiar face in our schools; she is passionate about the education of the children of our community. She will work tirelessly and respectfully with other board members to find workable solutions to maintain the high educational standards Sisters schools are known for.

I humbly invite you to join me in voting for Karissa Bilderback for our kids, our schools, and our community. Karissa Bilderback is the best choice Sisters School Board Position 3.

Renee May

To the Editor:

As an active member of the Sisters community, and mom of two growing up in the Sisters School District, I am sending this letter in full support of Karissa Bilderback’s campaign for a school board position.

Karissa was a full-time teacher prior to becoming a mother of four. She now dedicates her free time to her passion for education and the future of our community.

She constantly demonstrates “actions speaker louder than words” by actively volunteering on SPTC, in our classrooms/field trips, and currently serving on the PAC committee for the local option Measure 9-161. Without the passage of this levy, our community will lose 10 percent of funding (approximately 16 teachers) resulting in overcrowding of our classrooms of a growing school district. Every time I see her around town, she is demonstrating her passion for our schools by wearing a patch on her jacket advocating for our children.

As a mother of four young children currently enrolled in middle school and elementary school, she has a vested interest in the future of our schools and community. To quote my son, “She helps out a lot in our classroom. If she wasn’t there, my teacher wouldn’t be able to help the other kids with projects in order to keep up with everyone else in our class.”

Karissa “walks the walk and talks the talk” when it comes to promoting education in Sisters. I am excited knowing the future of the next generation of students will have her by their side.

Erica Poulos

Vote for Jeff Smith

To the Editor:

I have known Jeff Smith for over 30 years, and I am grateful for the leadership he has provided for our school district. Jeff has been a steady voice on the school board that has helped our children thrive. He has a lifetime of service to education and has the passion and energy to serve our kids.

He was there for my son, and now has two grandchildren as students. We need a mixed perspective on the Board. Jeff provides a historical perspective that helps to sustain the good work that serves our children. Jeff helped the Board during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep their eye on student learning. Our children were back into the classroom faster than any other Deschutes County districts and it made a big difference.

Jeff probably has more volunteer hours in Sisters schools than the other four candidates combined. He has worked in all of the school buildings. He puts in the hours and he does the work.

He has my vote.

Suzy Ramsey

Simmons for school board

To the Editor:

In the April 26 edition of The Nugget Newspaper, current School Board members, and past members, were writing in support of incumbents. I heard in a public forum that current School Board members shouldn’t be endorsing candidates through our main media source (The Nugget), especially when they haven’t heard from all those running.

Maybe it’s time for new blood? I believe it’s that time.

There are many constituents that want to bring in some creative problem solvers to inspire the School Board to be the best it possibly can be. This is where candidate Jayne Simmons shines. She researches issues and policies, she listens to others, she gets things done.

We have some ground to make up from the past few years, and we need board members who have the time and energy to learn and grow. We need board members to be honest about the setbacks in our public schools and willing to bring the necessary changes we may need.

I heard about a debate/forum that was put together quickly on Monday that happened Friday, April 28. Constituents wanted to hear all the candidates without a politically motivated organization holding the debate. Unfortunately, Jayne Simmons was the only candidate present; however, I was very impressed with her, and she has my vote!

Simmons has the time and commitment for students, parents and teachers working together for the success and well-being of all our students. It’s about all voices being heard and considered in making policies for our children.

Thanks for trusting Simmons with your vote.

Marilynn Tobiasson

Sarver for school board

To the Editor:

I wholeheartedly endorse re-electing Asa Sarver for Position 4 on the Sisters School Board.

As a former educator and SSD Board member myself, I know the time, dedication, and curiosity it takes to be an actively contributing board member. Asa understands the roles and responsibilities of a public school board and has made it his business to learn about the complexities of public school budgeting, public meeting law, public policy setting, and school bond oversight, by attending workshops, trainings, and asking lots of questions. He is not afraid to ask hard questions, listen to differing points of view, and look for creative, workable solutions while maintaining his integrity and not overstepping the role of a public school board member.

Asa stepped forward to chair the local option renewal because he understands firsthand how important these funds are to the Sisters School District’s budget. So on top of his other board responsibilities, he realized bringing in a yes vote was vital.

As a parent with one child in our schools and another to be an Outlaw soon, Asa never loses sight of the other reason he sought to be a Sisters School Board member — his children — all of the children.

I predict Asa will continue to be a well-informed decision maker and a cheerleader for all Sisters students. Please join me and cast your vote to re-elect Asa Sarver for Position 4.

Kay Grady

Greco for Cloverdale Fire Board

To the Editor,

I would ask my friends and neighbors of the Cloverdale Fire District to join me in supporting Jerry Greco in his bid to represent us on the Cloverdale Fire board of directors. Jerry has been active in the fire service since the 1970s and has been a volunteer with Cloverdale for the past 31 of those years.

As a local business owner, Jerry knows what it’s like to make payroll and pay taxes. Jerry is fiscally conservative and will be careful with our hard-earned money. Jerry knows the dedication it takes to be a volunteer firefighter and would like to continue his service to our community as an active board member. Jerry Greco for Cloverdale Fire Board.

Matt Cyrus


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