Fifty years ago this fall I began first grade at Mt. View Elementary School in Quincy, Wash., a thriving agricultural community in Central Washington.
Quincy had two elementary schools: Mt. View for first through third grades and Pioneer Elementary for fourth through sixth grades. The elementary school model is similar to the restructuring proposed for our elementary schools in Astoria. It is my understanding that Astoria's superintendent, Mike Sowder, has been a leader in the Quincy School District and knows the merits of this model for elementary education. I received an outstanding education in the Quincy school system.
I am not a parent. I deeply believe that public education is the foundation of a working democracy. As a citizen and taxpayer, I believe it is my responsibility to support quality education in our community, state and nation. In the past decade, our schools have been challenged financially by several citizen imposed tax limitation measures. The Oregon Legislature has not had the political courage to solve the school financial crisis created as a result of the tax measures. It has become the responsibility of local school districts to make painful cuts to balance the budget each year.
This year, four Astoria School Board members made a difficult yet wise decision when they chose to restructure our elementary schools using a model like Quincy's. They have given us an excellent educational model while reducing the budget in one year by $1.4 million. This is extraordinary, with minimal cuts in positions for the most important people in education, our teachers.
Instead of praising these conscientious and courageous school board members, numerous individuals disappointed in their decision are asking Astoria citizens to recall these board members. This is unconscionable. Not only have these board members made a difficult yet necessary decision to balance the budget, due to shortfalls not of their making, but in the process they have gifted the community with an excellent model of education which will continue to provide our students with a quality education and save tax dollars in the future.
The recall makes no sense. Vote "no" on the board recall.