We have a problem
To the editor: Oregon City Schools have a budget problem and they want us to solve it for them again.
In all the letters and articles that I’ve read from the school board and the superintendent this year, the five-year budget is what keeps coming up - how they will be at a $20 million deficit by the 2012-2013 school year. How HB 66 has cut into their revenue by $10 million over the past six years.
I believe the school board is using the same baseline budgeting system that most governments use, which is badly flawed and works against taxpayers because it requires increased taxes to sustain it, rather than looking at the schools’ revenue and forecasting a budget based on that dollar amount, as most Americans do. They instead rely on a system that automatically provides regular increases to all departments, whether they need them or not. It then builds on each consecutive year’s budget with little regard to actual revenues because shortfalls are paid by the taxpayer with new levies.
The system also requires that each department spend all its money, so that their baseline is not reduced for the coming year, thus we have the “use-it-or-lose-it” spending policy. With this system, the budget will always go up exponentially and will always run out of money every few years. Sound familiar? This system also allows for cuts, when in fact they are still increasing spending. I call these phantom tax cuts.
As an example, when looking at a budget forecast, they will tell you they’ve cut department cost by three percent, but the department still receives increases because the baseline increase was 10 percent each year over the five-year period. The fact is, even if you gave them the $20 million today because of baseline budgeting they would be broke again in just a few years as it would reset to the new amounts. That’s why they are struggling without that $10 million.
They do not know how to make do with less. Instead, they’ll scare us with more teaching cuts and busing cuts. I say apply real pay cuts and spending cuts, greatly reduce the number of administration and clerical positions and map out a real budget.
The only problem the school board has to solve is how to spend the money we’ve already given them. Instead, they’ll show us budgeting charts for inflated higher cost that have yet to be realized, call it a shortfall and convince us all to pay the difference again and again and again.
Happy memories created
To the editor: Saturday afternoon April 25 was a sunny, windy day with perfume from the flowering trees floating in the breeze.
The Woodmore prom-goers goers looked so handsome and gorgeous in their tuxes and formals as they wandered the grounds of the Schedel Arboretum and Gardens, having their pictures taken by proud family members and friends. Before attending the evening’s banquet and formal dance, a parade of the prom-goers took place on the Schedels Walk of Memories.
What a treasure to have Schedel in Elmore, and the opportunity they give to the Woodmore High School prom-goers and their loved ones to take pictures that will be treasured for years to come.
We too are fortunate to have a high school principal, a high school staff, and many volunteers who help to make sure the prom is truly a night of happy memories.
Betty Marlow Miller
Good old days
To the editor: Congratulations Bob Brandburg on your perfect game. What took you so long?
Bob was a pretty good baseball pitcher as well. I went to Troy Luckey School and was playing at Olney School. In those days, we had no helmets and Bob thought my head was home plate, knocking me down. I stayed in the game, however.
I had given up a hit and an error, and they scored a run. It was the bottom of the ninth and Bob had a no-hitter going. There were two outs. I was the last man up. I told my coach French Fielier, “He’s not going to pitch a no-hitter against me,” and I got a hit. We both pitched a one-hit ball game that day.
I went on to pitch in the Lake Shore League for the Walbridge Merchants. We were playing the last game for the championship. We were ahead 1-0. Dick Harris had pitched a good game to the last inning when he lost it. Filling the bases on walks and no outs. I had been warming up when Coach Freddie Midagh put me in. I had developed a very good knuckle ball with which I struck out the next three batters, winning the championships.
Those were the good old days.
A need to be heard
To the editor: Approximately three years ago (an election year), Mayor Brown and several Oregon city council members came to our apartment complex.
The main subjects were sidewalks, public transportation in Oregon and a handicap-accessible van to take us to and from doctor’s appointments. Mayor Brown told us they had a handicap van and as soon as she could get it insured it would be available. We still don’t have one.
We stressed the need for sidewalks in Oregon. Wheelchairs, scooters and walkers are very restricted, limiting where we can go. Mayor Brown said we would have them by the next fall. We still don’t have them.
We explained how hard it is for the disabled to get around Oregon. We expressed that we were being denied our right to freedom.
As far as public transportation, we were told at that time the city didn’t want a contract with TARTA and that’s all they had to say on the matter.
I just went to a public meeting regarding TARTA. I told them I had the right to go to the zoo with my grandchildren or to church on Sunday using public transportation as my only resource. It was very clear that the mayor and council are still opposed to the idea of public transportation.
The main concern is that our (elderly and disabled) voices are not being heard. We also are a large part of this community. I live in Fountain Square, which is just one of several complexes in Oregon.
To the editor: The Genoa School Board is considering spending cuts. Bill Nye, the district treasurer should consider starting at the top by eliminating those who are double-dipping our system then go from there.