Letters to Editor for July 18, 2019

In support of ECFR levy lid lift on August ballot

My name is John Prasch, and I’m a firefighter with East County Fire and Rescue in Clark County. I write this to voice my support for an upcoming levy the department is putting on the August ballot, and implore your readers to do the same.

I’ve worked at East County Fire and Rescue (ECFR) for 11 years. I started as a college intern and am now a senior, full-time firefighter. I’ve seen the department go through hard financial times and persevere. Unfortunately, the cost-cutting measures taken to stave off the effects of the “Great Recession” have caught up with us.

The levy measure is a simple one-year lid lift to $1.50 per $1,000 (the 2008 levy rate). Due to state law, the department’s budget can only go up 1 percent annually, which prevents our budget from increasing at the same rate as housing values are rising. This requires the department to return to the voters every so often to “re-up,” so to speak.

Without a “yes” vote, stations will close. Response times will go up, and it will cost lives. There have been several close scrapes since the department started browning out stations to cut costs, and it’s a matter of time until a station is closed the day someone needs us most.

Please vote yes to fund the fire district. We take pride in the service we provide and want nothing more than to continue to do so.

John Prasch,

East County Fire & Rescue

Vigil is over, but still time to help children

Thanks for the detailed information on the “Lights for Liberty” vigil in support of children everywhere, especially on America’s southern border (“Vigil to highlight abuses at border” by Kelly Moyer, Camas-Washougal Post-Record, July 11, 2019).

America has done much for the world’s children, 15,000 of whom still die daily, but that number is down from more than 40,000 a day just 30 years ago thanks to vaccines and nutrition work funded in large part by America.

This vigil will be over by the time this letter published, but you can still take action to help the world’s children. Call or write Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and ask her to sign on to the resolution (recognizing the U.S. Agency for International Development’s role in improving nutrition for children and mothers throughout the world) and thank Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for already support this resolution, and ask them all to follow through with legislation that will make a difference to these 15,000 children who die needlessly every day. We know what to do to end this. Your calls and letters make sure those who represent us in Congress follow through.

Willie Dickerson,

Snohomish, Washington

Grandma happy with story on Washougal United team

Thank you so much for the article and photos regarding the achievement of the Washougal Unified Sports team.

I am just now seeing the article, as I live in Portland.

Andrew Valenzuela is my grandson and this was a great opportunity for him, especially receiving the sportsmanship award.

Thank you again for your support.

Carolyn Brown,

Portland

Article confused readers familiar with Camas schools budget

It is with intense interest that I have followed the McClearly legislation-induced deficits imposed on school districts across our state this year, and in particular, our home district, Camas School District (CSD).

I have attended school board meetings regularly since last fall, attended talks at my child’s school by Superintendent (Jeff) Snell. I have read all district communications to families on this issue, and I think it is fair to say that as a parent stakeholder I am fairly informed about the challenges the McCleary-imposed deficit poses to CSD, and the steps our district has taken to address it.

So, this week I was stunned to read your headline cover story that strongly suggests CSD is an additional $4 million in deficit. This is not true, but because of the way this story is written and because of the other cover story about Washougal’s deficit growing by $1 million, the reader is given the distinct impression that something very recently happened that added an additional $4 million to the deficit. That was quite upsetting to read and it took further investigation on my part to learn that our deficit has not ballooned by an additional $4 million dollars.

It is my firm opinion that the Post-Record should reach out to CSD to ascertain the facts, and also print a correction in the next edition. This has been a difficult enough issue for our community to grapple with, and the unclear journalism in this cover story causes unnecessary confusion and stress.

Aunna Elm,

Camas

Editor’s Note: We understand the headline “Camas schools still $4 million short” published in the July 11 Post-Record caused confusion for many readers who have been closely following the expected deficit between expenditures and revenues in the Camas School District’s 2019-20 general fund budget.

The headline was meant to convey that, after making cuts to staff and programs as recommended by the budget committee, the district was “still” nearly $4 million short when it came to balancing its general fund revenues and expenditures.

The article was written in response to a June 24 Camas school board meeting, in which the district’s director of business gave an update on the proposed budget and the expected $3.8 million shortfall in the general fund — and to preview a July 22 school board meeting in which board members are expected to discuss budget issues and the district’s levy rates.

Although it was mentioned in previous Post-Record articles, we should have done more in the July 11 article to highlight the fact that the district does intend to cover the nearly $4 million deficit using reserve funds.

We apologize if failing to highlight this point led to confusion for our readers.

Although the district is proposing to use reserve funds, CSD does face a $3.8 million gap between its $101.4 million in expenditures from the general fund for 2019-20 and its revenues for the general fund. The reserve fund balance will drop from $9.27 million to $5.52 million if the budget is approved as written. Please look for updates on the ongoing CSD budget story in the July 25 Post-Record.

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