Letters to the Editor for Jan. 8, 2013

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A good place to start

A recent letter, titled “Gun control is not the issue,” discussed the author’s religious beliefs to clarify her initial statement that in these recent tragic shootings, “It is not an issue about gun control, but about people.”

She is absolutely right that we cannot legislate “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control.”

We can, however, legislate the sale and possession of firearms. And that might just be a good place to start as we wrestle with the more complex questions of what kind of communities we want and how best to build them.

Joyce (JH) Batten, Camas

Keep Camas schools strong

It is time to renew our commitment to great community schools by supporting the Camas School District replacement levies on Feb. 12.

The proposed levies, one for maintenance and operations and the other for technology, are not new taxes but replace existing levies that expire at the end of 2013.

Public education funding in Washington state relies heavily on local taxes. In Camas, the levies currently fund about 20 percent of total education costs. Approving the proposed levies simply continues this local funding.

The maintenance and operations replacement levy funds services and materials critical to overall student success. Examples include: smaller class sizes; special education services; accelerated programs, like the Math, Science and Technology Magnet programs, world language classes, and Science Olympiad teams; extracurricular programs, like athletics, band, drama, and academic teams; student health and library services; student safety initiatives; teacher training; and, basic needs such as maintenance, utilities, and textbook and curriculum materials.

Levy funds help bridge the gap between state funding and what it actually costs to operate our schools.

The technology replacement levy funds information technology support for all schools, providing staffing and equipment to help educate our students and provide them with skills to further their education or enter the workforce upon graduation.

Funding both the operations and technology replacement levies is an investment in our children’s future.

The Camas School District provides a high-quality education at a relatively low cost. Camas students’ standardized test scores regularly exceed state averages and rank high compared to other Clark County schools. Our strong schools continue to be one of our community’s greatest assets and are worthy of our support.

Please join me in voting “yes” for both Camas School District replacement levies on Feb. 12.

Shannon Turk, Camas

Proud of Pike’s proposal

State Representative-Elect Liz Pike has shown the courage and integrity to step past the distractions, special-interest lobbying, false statistics, ignorant or dishonest firearm definitions, and anti-gun hysterics of a noisy minority of critics.

Her proposed legislation to have school personnel in every building trained and licensed to carry concealed defensive firearms is the one solution that will guarantee the safety of innocent children.

It costs school districts very little, involves only willing participants and gives the advantage to responsible teachers, administrators and secretaries who know the precise layout of school premises and classrooms, and who are the most aware of exactly who should — and should not — be on school property at any given time.

Parents, grandparents and school district patrons have seen with their own eyes the disastrous results of ‘Weapons Free Zone’ signs and ‘School Safety’ policies that leave responsible school personnel helpless to stop crazed intruders from killing children under the care of the school district.

At a critical time for America’s public school system, and in timely defense of helpless children, Pike has moved beyond politics and into statesmanship.

I applaud her foresight and boldness, I am grateful to her, and I am proud that I campaigned for her.

Sensible people know too much to go back and pretend that layers of ‘gun control’ laws and ‘Gun Free Zones’ can stop a determined madman from killing vulnerable children.

I strongly urge all citizens to back Pike’s solution.

Robert R. Larimer Jr., Vancouver

Grateful for experiences in Camas schools

As an attendee of Camas Schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and a Papermaker graduate in 2009, I would like to urge your readers to vote “yes” on the upcoming replacement levy.

This levy is vital to insuring that quality instruction and programming continues to define Camas’ legacy of educational excellence.

Parents of current students, community members, and particularly recent CHS graduates should reflect on the high value of the programs the levy supports and cast their ballot in favor on Feb. 12.

My academic and extracurricular experiences in Camas Schools were not only vital to my preparation for and success at college, but also contributed largely to my acceptance at a highly competitive university.

I study at Harvard and am reminded each day how important access to AP classes, quality instruction, and the latest technology were in equipping me for the Ivy League experience.

We should be so proud that our public schools produce instruction and opportunities on par with elite private high schools across the nation, and I felt equally prepared as my prep school graduated peers on day one.

Furthermore, my work with the admission office as a tour guide has reinforced how crucial strong extracurricular involvement in programs like band, choir, drama, leadership, and after school clubs is to a successful college application.

I know for a fact that my stories of personal growth as a vocalist in the CHS choir and a trombonist in the Papermaker band made my application stand out. I can’t imagine redoing my college admissions interview and not being able to speak about these experiences and so many more, direct products of levy funding.

Camas is sending more and more students to highly selective colleges every year. Protecting the programming that enhances our students’ chances is crucial to maintaining this trend.

Please join me in voting “yes” on this replacement levy. It is not a new tax, but just replaces the existing levy that is set to expire.

My school experience would not have been the same without access to the arts, AP courses, and cutting-edge curriculum. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without it.

Emma Sagor, CHS Class of 2009, Harvard University, Class of 2013