Kulongoski needs more time in schools, less on his embarrassing corporate busIt is beyond appalling that in 2004, after more than a decade of cutting, the public schools must fight for sufficient funds. The $8 billion budgeted for schools last week by Gov. Ted Kulongoski is well below what could be called stability, although Kulongoski called it that.

Astoria Schools Superintendent Mike Sowder told this newspaper that it would require a cut in school days. Following the 2003 Oregon Legislature, the Astoria district cut 18 positions, 15 of them teachers. Anyone who believes there is any "fat" left in the Astoria, Warrenton or Seaside districts hasn't dropped by the schools in the past few years or is, perhaps, intoxicated by the screed of Lars Larson.

House Speaker Karen Minnis said the governor's budget number was "a good starting point," an observation echoed by Kulongoski himself. That is legislature speak for "Prove you really need more." TRANSLATION: March on Salem. Deluge us with letters, and maybe we'll pay attention to you.

The disconnect that is apparent in Kulongoski's budget attitude toward the schools can be explained by a photo spread in the current issue of the Associated Oregon Industries magazine. The governor is depicted next to his bus, which is plastered with more corporate logos than a Nascar racing machine.

If Gov. Kulongoski really believes that Astoria and Seaside schools need more budget cuts, he should spend more time in the classroom and less on his embarrassing corporate bus.

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