Letters to the Editor for Jan. 29, 2013

CSD school levies – An excellent investment

In January of 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the state was not meeting its constitutional obligation to fully fund education. Notably, the court issued the same ruling in 1978, without any meaningful progress in the 35 years since.

The 2012 ruling sets up a “challenging” situation for our new governor and legislature — increasing education funding in the midst of weak revenue and intense pressure on spending.

The bottom line is that until this gap in schools funding is addressed at the state level, it will remain up to each individual school district to secure the balance of funds needed to keep schools whole.

In the Camas School District, where voters have routinely passed school levy measures for decades, local levy funds make up 20 percent of the annual budget. These funds make possible smaller class sizes, and they fund books and materials, technology for classrooms and teaching, and virtually all extra-curricular academic and athletic programs (including our community “Friday Night Lights” experience every fall at Doc Harris Stadium.)

I agree to chair this campaign every 3 to 4 years because after 18 years of living in Camas with my wife and three daughters (all of whom have come through Camas schools), I’ve experienced firsthand how well the district manages and stretches our tax dollars, and the excellent, comprehensive education that our children are provided. And I believe it’s our collective responsibility to continue the legacy of great schools that we’ve inherited from generations of Camas community members and leaders that have gone before us.

It is, after all, an investment with the greatest of all possible returns: a community that attracts residents and employers who know that strong schools are the foundation of a vibrant, strong local economy; and children who are well prepared academically and socially to become the next generation of workers and leaders in our community and our world.

Please join me in voting “yes” for both Camas School District replacement levy measures on the upcoming Feb. 12 ballots. For detailed information on the levy measures, see the CSD website at: www.camas.wednet.edu or visit our Camas Citizens for Quality Schools Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VoteCamasSchools.

Bob Engel

Camas Citizens

for Quality Schools

Charter schools have unsavory background

The citizens of Washington have spoken so this session of the legislature will begin the transfer of precious tax dollars from public education to charter schools. Never mind that charter schools’ student achievements are similar to public schools. That is of minor importance. The important item is easy money.

If you think “non-profit” is a reality, forget it. EDVantages Academies, a non-profit, in Dayton, Ohio had corporate “management company” that made off with $400,000 in one year to their CEO. Their CEO, Myrtha Pammer-Satow’s compensation was far more that any Ohio public school superintendent.

And how about our neighbor, Oregon? The non-profit, EdChoices, scammed the state out of $17 million. But the state sued and will get most of it back. Orlando, Fla., ponied up $519,453 payment to Kelly Young, two days after closing the charter school, NorthStar.

But Arizona takes first place for robbing the tax payers. The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools gave at least 17 contracts to their favorite businesses worth more than $70 million. The supplies and services were purchased by public schools for much less.

The schools, cities, and states mentioned in this letter can be verified. I have 12 pages of charter school’s criminal behavior that makes the rich richer without making the kids smarter. Taxpayers in America provide around $2 billion for the education of children, and corporate greed wants it all.

Celia Louderback

Vancouver

Levy dollars enrich students’ experiences

I wanted to take a few minutes in this new year to encourage Camas residents to carefully consider and then vote “yes” on the upcoming levy elections related to the Camas School District.

Ballots for this election will be coming by mail very soon with a final election date of Feb. 12. The two measures — one for maintenance and operations and the second for technology — both replace existing levy dollars that I know are essential for our students.

I know this because I have two children who are students at Camas High School, and I have seen the power of programs that have benefited each.

For example, my son who graduates this year has coupled his strong work ethic with fantastic support and opportunity at our schools.

Math Science Magnet, Science Olympiad, caring teachers, running coaches, band, and Knowledge Bowl are but a few of the “helps” he has been given to help achieve opportunities in higher education.

Similarly, my daughter, who is a sophomore, has been encouraged and lifted up with a custom-made instructional plan.

These are the kinds of experiences that have made their Camas years successful, and they are also those that would be very difficult to maintain without local levy dollars.

We have a good thing going in Camas when it comes to educating our kids. Please join me in maintaining that momentum and vote “yes” for Camas schools.

Hans Wachlin

Camas

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