Yes to public schools, no on Measure 62

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Most of you probably remember your public high school days. Those were the times when the teachers didn’t have enough textbooks to give to all students, and the books they did have were outdated and nearly unreadable. Computer labs were always full with students hanging around waiting for their turn. Funding for programs such as music and physical education was constantly being reduced or cut altogether.

Measure 62 would cause public schools to be more desperate and destitute by reallocating 15 percent of Oregon State Lottery money away from schools.

According to the Oregon Education Association, this measure would effectively cut $175 million out of the State School Fund. This directly affects those of you majoring in education, because schools won’t afford to hire as many new teachers, even though their ever-growing classroom sizes warrants a hiring spree.

This measure also affects everyone who has daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews going through the public school system. Most people want the next generation’s relatives to have a similar or better educational experience, not a worse one. Anyone who’s concerned about Oregon’s future and doesn’t want to see public schools in need of more tax dollars on the next voting ballot should vote against Measure 62.

Kevin Mannix devised Measure 62 in order to help pay for his billion-dollar project under Measure 61, where Oregon would begin warehousing non-violent, first-time offenders for about three years. Both of these measures would drastically hurt our school districts by taking away vital lottery and tax dollars.

If Measure 62 passes, the 15 percent would be reallocated to district attorney operations, county sheriffs’ offices, state police criminal investigations and forensic operations. In the voting pamphlet, Mannix says that Measure 62 would make our community like a real-life “CSI: Oregon.” Perhaps Mannix watches too much TV.

Mannix wants to lock away drug addicts and thieves without giving them any treatment. Maybe he thinks that they’ll just cure themselves. Maybe he doesn’t mind taking funds away from education because he just figures that the children will teach themselves grammar and geometry.

Measure 62 proposes to dedicate 20 percent of the reallocated funds toward “early childhood programs for at-risk children.” The measure doesn’t elaborate on what these programs would consist of, but I can think of one: education. Counseling “at-risk” children isn’t going to put food on an impoverished table, stop domestic abuse or recall a missing parent.

Measure 62 would take away from these children’s best opportunity of getting out of the projects. Education gives children hope for the future so that they can aspire to become a healthy part of society when they grow up as doctors, teachers, lawyers or anything else imaginable. Education is a driving force that can help children stay on track to avoid falling into bad crowds. But if our public school system doesn’t have enough funds to support itself, students won’t be able to take learning seriously.

With less funding, schools will expect parents to shell out more money for field trips, after-school programs and other school events. This would negatively impact lower-income kids whose parents don’t have the extra money to spend. This is another example in our polarizing economy of the gap between the poor and the rich expanding. Rich politicians don’t care about public schools because, like Kevin Mannix, they can afford to send their own children to private ones.

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