Help our students compete in the future; vote yes for school bond

Help our students compete in the future; vote yes for school bond

Original Article from the Statesman Journal

I am writing to urge our community to vote “yes”on the Salem-Keizer Public Schools bond measure, 24-429, in the May 15 election.

Oregon remains third-worst in the country for its high-school graduation rates, and here in Salem, we’re underperforming compared to our state.

The Salem-Keizer school bond will create new career and technical education (CTE) classrooms, which teach students practical skills and keep them engaged in school.

It will also increase capacity, which lowers class sizes and improves outcomes. And it will upgrade technology, so our kids are learning the skills of tomorrow on equipment that can keep pace.

This bond measure will equitably distribute funds across all of our elementary, middle and high schools to ensure students throughout the district will benefit.

Please support our students by voting “yes” for our schools on May 15.

Christine Ertl

Support Salem-Keizer school bond measure and give our students a bright future

Support Salem-Keizer school bond measure and give our students a bright future

Original Article from the Statesman Journal

Please give our local schools the support they need to continue into the future with upgraded capacity and adequate levels of service.

The upcoming school bond measure on May 15 isn’t about excess, it is about allowing the school district to meet the needs of an increasing population and upgrading facilities to reflect this (growth).

I was fortunate enough to be on the school-bond task force and able to work with the fine staff, superintendent ,and other community volunteers.

A great deal of time was spent in learning and deliberating the true needs (of the district).

I can honestly tell you that even though the bond amount seems high, these are only the essentials to keep us competitive, and give us the ability to house and properly care for our students.

Adding required space in science labs, cafeterias, installing security upgrades, performing some high-need seismic work as part of other needed improvements, and providing additional career technical capacity are essential.

If you have all day, let me tell you about the success in career technical education (CTE), and how well we are doing in Salem with that. Please join me in saying “yes” to Measure 24-429.

Rick Day

Invest in the community, vote “yes” on school-bond measure

Invest in the community, vote “yes” on school-bond measure

Statesman Journal Published 4:13 p.m. PT April 24, 2018

I’m writing to support the Salem-Keizer School District bond that will be on the May 15 ballot.

A year ago I was running for Salem-Keizer School Board and discussions were already starting around a bond package. I supported it then and support it now.

The bond will allow us to meet the projected capacity needs for our high schools, as well as increasing science labs, and career and technical education (CET) space across the district.

Our community is growing and for our students to compete in the world’s economy, we need to give them access to school facilities that will enhance their educational experience.

The bond also invests in security and safety upgrades at all schools. By making security conscious school-building modifications, including improving sight lines from school offices to building front doors and improving card access systems, we improve the ability of staff to protect our children.

Investments in targeted seismic upgrades will increase the ability of people to survive a major earthquake.

Our schools, and the educations they provide, are the centerpiece of building a vibrant community. This bond package is an investment in our community. I encourage you to vote “yes” on the school bond on May 15.

Mark E. Bateman



Original Article from Salem Weekly | Posted by  | Apr 27, 2018

Below we offer endorsements for some contested races in the May 15th Primary Election that we feel strongly about.

But maybe the most important message we have for our readers is this:


Turnout in primary elections in Salem is generally awful. Two years ago in Marion County, less than half of the eligible voters bothered to vote. And that was a Presidential primary election.

This year we don’t have Bernie vs. Hillary or Trump vs. all those other guys. It will probably be a miracle if we reach the pathetic voting total in 2016. So don’t be one of the slackers. Get out your ballot, grab a stamp and vote. Or put your ballot in one of the many convenient drop sites around town (four Roth’s Markets around town have them).

As a citizen you have a responsibility to vote. Do it!

Marion County Commissioner, Position 2 (Democrat) — Bill Burgess

It’s terrific that there are three strong Democrats that are vying to take on Republican Brad Nanke or Colm Willis in the General Election this fall. Sadie Carney and Matt Plummer both seem like attractive candidates, but both are newcomers to the political arena. Bill Burgess, on the other hand, has an elected public service career stretching back to 1990 when he served two terms on the Salem City Council. His excellent reputation and name recognition gives him the best shot to end the conservative Republican hegemony on the Marion County Board of Commissioners.

Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner — Val Hoyle

Val Hoyle would make a wonderful new Commissioner at the Bureau of Labor and Industries, succeeding the retiring Brad Avakian. She has served seven years as a State Representative representing part of Lane County and was formerly the House Majority Leader. She comes from a working class background and has been a union member and a small business owner. Her two opponents don’t come close to her qualifications and track record as a champion for working families. If Hoyle can get more than 50% of the vote she can avoid a runoff in the fall.

Marion County Circuit Court Judge, Position 5 — Jon Weiner

Jon Weiner, who has practiced law in Marion County for nearly two decades, appears to have two equally well-qualified opponents in the race for this open seat on the Marion County Circuit Court. However we were impressed by his service on the Board of the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency and his other community service work. We were also swayed by his endorsements by attorneys like former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Sue Leeson, former Salem Mayor Mike Swaim and Attorney John Gear.

Salem City Councilor, Ward 8 — Micki Varney

Micki Varney served as a city councilor in Washington State before moving to Salem in 2010 to further her career as a salmon biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. In Salem she has been a leader in the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, serving a term as their President. She is also a leader in her union. She is trying to unseat incumbent Jim Lewis, who is a throwback to the bad old days when business interests called all the shots on the Salem City Council. In this race he has raised double the amount that Varney has raised, much of it coming from homebuilders and Realtors. He says he can deliver a Third Bridge if re-elected in Ward 8. But even he knows that would be impossible, and we trust voters in Ward 8 are smart enough to know it too.

Salem-Keizer School District Bond Measure 24-429 — Yes

The Salem-Keizer School District has done a good job of planning to accommodate future student enrollment in our growing community. It is indicative of this that there is no organized opposition to their $619.7 million bond measure — not even one argument in opposition in the voter pamphlet. While the measure will cost property owners $1.24 per $1,000 of assessed valuation ($310 a year for a $250,000 home), it will take care of our needs for school facilities until 2035. Many of our schools are beyond their capacity now. For example, there are now 22 portable classrooms at McKay High School. Another need that the measure addresses is completing seismic upgrades in all our schools. This is essential to prevent tragic loss of life in the next Cascadia earthquake that we know could come at any time. There is no question that this bond measure is a big ask, and may present challenges for people on fixed incomes. But we owe it to our young people to not have to settle for crowded and crumbling and unsafe schools. It’s an obligation we can’t ignore.

Salem-Keizer Schools look to pass $600 million bond in May: ‘We are well over capacity’

Salem-Keizer Schools look to pass $600 million bond in May: ‘We are well over capacity’

Original Article from by Kellee Azar, KATU News | Tuesday, April 24th 2018

KEIZER, Ore. — As the student population grows in the Salem-Keizer School District, buildings are bursting at the seams.

The increased student class size makes things like lunch time difficult, and the necessary activities are cutting into learning time.

The district is hoping voters in the Salem-Keizer area will ‘vote yes’ on a $600 million bond measure that would allow them to expand schools in need and provide more resources for students.

At Keizer Elementary School, lunchtime has become a well oiled machine.

“By the time we get through, they are only getting 10 to 15 minutes to eat,” Principal Christine Bowlby said.

The elementary is among several other schools in the district that lack a cafeteria, so they use classrooms and hallways as a makeshift food station for kids to pick up their meals. Once in-hand, students head back to class to eat.

“It doesn’t really provide us with a lot of change in our environment throughout the day, but it gives you the opportunity to be social throughout the day in class,” fifth grade teacher Jessica DeFrancisco said.


DeFrancisco says she worries about her students getting enough time to eat and socialize.

“More time would be nice, however, we do the best we can with what we’ve got,” DeFrancisco said.

For students, there’s added work involved in that half hour – they have to do a thorough clean up after they eat.

A bond on the May ballot would help expand schools like Keizer Elementary giving them a cafeteria, more classrooms and a multi-use space.

It’s something Principal Bowlby says the district could benefit from.

“Our building was built for about 530 students and right now we are sitting at 740, so we are well over capacity for this building,” Bowlby said.

That growth is something the entire district is seeing.

“Our job is teaching kids how to read in the elementary years. Those first few years are critical for that, and if we are not able to do that it’s going to hurt later on,” Bowlby said.

Ballots start going out this week but must be turned back in by May 15.

Investing in school district invests in students’ and the community’s well being

Investing in school district invests in students’ and the community’s well being

Statesman JournalPublished 5:24 p.m. PT April 19, 2018 

A thank-you to reporter Natalie Pate for her excellent article April 19 on the specifics of the Salem-Keizer School Bond measure.

Our children have recently graduated from Salem-Keizer schools, but I strongly support this measure because I believe it is critical to pay it forward to the generations coming behind us.

With more than a quarter of Oregon’s students not graduating from high school in four years, we need to do all we can to alleviate overcrowding, which this bond will help address by adding new classrooms.

This bond also seeks to help students through increased access to career technological courses, has more space for physical education and music programs, and adds cafeterias with room to allow every student time to eat healthy meals.

With school shootings and seismic issues on our minds, an investment in increased safety in the schools is overdue. This levy, at $1.24 per $1,000 of assessed value, is a very modest investment in the well being of the students who are currently, and who will be, part of the Salem-Keizer Public Schools district, and it appears that these funds will be well spent.
Finally, the time is now with construction costs in the area rapidly rising.

Deb Patterson