I was very saddened by the In My View letter from Andy Niedzwiecke on Nov. 12. Niedzwiecke feels that the upcoming school bond for new buildings would unfairly tax seniors. Sir, are you an educated person from the United States? If so, I’m sure that the community that you grew up in educated you in school buildings that were supported by the local community. Did you know that there might have been seniors that paid taxes to support your education? I have recently joined the ranks of the seniors and find the schools in our community to be excellent. As Central Oregon residents, we should be proud of our schools that educate our leaders of tomorrow. These are the people who will be caring for us in our old age. I’m sure you would want them to be educated to their highest potential, as they will be making decisions for you very soon. They are our community’s treasures.
Let me address a few of your thoughts that I found concerning:
1. You state that non-property owners are not paying property tax. People who are not property owners are typically paying rent or living with their parents. Both of these groups are paying taxes through their rent payments or their parents who are supporting our community by paying taxes. As for the unemployed, that is an issue in itself that we don’t have time to address.
2. As far as how many schools a city our size needs, that depends on how many people continue to move to our fabulous area. Unfortunately, we don’t have the right to hang a sign on the Bend city limits stating “We are out of school space, please continue through our town!” If you can come up with a solution to our population growth, share it with the rest of us. I’ve lived in Bend for 34 years and would love to have it like it was in 1980.
3. As for the families that opt out of public education, it is their right to do so. There are many reasons that public education does not fit into their family values or their child’s needs. Thank goodness we are Americans and have choices. Thank goodness there are alternatives available for children who don’t fit in the traditional setting of school.
4. Our buildings stay with us for much longer than a lifetime. The following buildings are still in use today in our district: our district administration building (Old Bend Senior High) was built in 1925. Bend Senior High School was built in 1956; Amity Creek, aka Thompson (1949); Highland, aka Kenwood (1918). As for elementary schools, Niedzwiecke needs to take a tour of our schools. In 1992-93, Elk Meadow, Three Rivers and Lava Ridge were opened to students. The district used the same design for Pine Ridge (2002), High Lakes (2002), Miller (2009), Ponderosa (2008) and Rosland (2010). Just think how much we have saved in the last 20 or more years on design costs. The only elementary school that has not followed the same model is Ensworth Elementary due to a limit on acreage available at that site. If we don’t build buildings at a “state-of-the-art” level, how will they serve us in the years to come? Technology is changing as fast as it is released on the market. We must educate our students with the most current technology available for them to be hired in the competitive job market that lies ahead of them.
As for supporting our Bend-La Pine Schools in a bond measure next year, I encourage everyone to put the students of our community at the top of your list. Remember, they will be caring for us in our old age, and I, for one, want to make sure that the children in the Bend-La Pine District are educated in “state-of-the-art” schools.