Letters to the editor for May 18, 2013

School board endorsements, defending teacher Dolan, Fairground complaints unfair

Fairground complaints unfair

In response to “Fairground use woes” (May 8) by Jim and Sharon Jans:

Whether it’s noise, orchard spray, or whatever, residents have good reason to complain when something unpleasant moves in next to them.

They have no right to complain when they move in next to something that is unpleasant.

They mention that the fairground used to be “comfortably distant from most of the populace” but is now surrounded by a growing population.

If there is a problem, the problem is not with the fairgrounds, but with what has grown up around it. If an event is, as they said, “wildly inappropriate” for their neighborhood, then they can move to a different neighborhood.

Adrian Fields

Hood River

Write in Reynolds

I have known Mary Reynolds, the write-in candidate for Hood River School Board Position Six, since 1992. We both taught at Mosier Elementary during the time.

I know that Mary understands the issues facing children and teachers. She has worked in schools for 24 years. As a reading specialist and kindergarten teacher, she understands literacy instruction and child development.

I know that Mary is competent, engaged, caring, and a professional educator who has devoted her career to teaching and learning. We need someone with Mary’s expertise and current knowledge of classrooms on the Hood River County School Board.

I encourage you to write-in Mary Reynolds for Position Six. She has my vote.

Kelly Asbridge

Hood River

Virk and Johnson lead

Having served for a year now as ex-officio representative from Cascade Locks on the school board I’d like to encourage you to vote for and re-elect two current members of the school board; first our chair Jan Veldhuisen Virk who has dedicated many years of her life to the board.

Watching her respectful encouraging interaction with the public, school administration and staff has truly been eye opening to me as she does it with such ease and grace.

Jan is also involved in health care, so in addition to doing volunteer work on the school board she works with people throughout the county in crisis situations.

Mark Johnson is the second person I’d like to recommend. Mark also serves as your representative in the legislature in Salem; he truly represents us in both places. Mark works for education accomplishing positive things for our schools down in the state capital and here in Hood River.

You can tell from his remarks that he understands the legislation that he works on and it shows in his statements at the school board. Mark brings expertise in taxation and PERS, both important to the board and the state, back to Hood River where they’re applied here in the county and can be observed through our nearly 10 percent higher than the state average graduation rate.

Please join me in helping re-elect both of these deserving individuals to the school board.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Kudos to Dolan

As a parent of two kids in the Hood River County School District both of whom have had Mr. Dolan for science, I applaud the very high standards he holds his students to. Moreover, I very much appreciate his willingness to communicate to parents, even when the news may not be what we want to hear, but what we need to hear.

Well done indeed!

Eric Cohn

Hood River

No sugar coating

In response to “Teachers message questioned” (May 15): I for one like to-the-point, non sugar coated articles. You say if kids are failing is it kids or teachers who need to do something about failing scores? I read him saying: “I expect kids coming in at lunch and after school to deal with it.”

It sounds to me like he will be there at lunch and after school to help the kids. I think that is doing something about failing scores.

I found it right on and to the point. I say you want sugar coating ... go live in a candy store — otherwise put your kids first and see to it they are getting their work done or the help they need.

Jim Burdick

Parkdale

Teacher defended

I was really surprised to read Bob Rhodes criticism of the email he received from Joe Dolan in “Teachers message questioned” (May 15).

I do not understand why he found it “offensive” but I do think it is a reflection of our school system — a positive reflection.

What I took from Mr. Dolan’s letter was that he was very concerned that some of his students had extremely low scores on the state testing.

He appeared to be alerting their parents to the problem and offering some suggestions to help those students succeed.

Hopefully some of those parents will respond to that email by working with their children to improve their work.

It is my understanding that when those children are in high school, they will have to pass state tests in reading, writing and math in order to graduate.

I was happy to see that rather than just ignore the problem and pass it on to the next teacher, Mr. Dolan was trying to help these children develop skills to succeed.

Clearly not all the students are failing, and he also praised those students who are working hard to succeed. If all the students were failing, I would be looking at the teacher for an explanation, but I don’t think it is reasonable to assume that because some children are failing that it is the fault of the teacher.

Kudos to Mr. Dolan for putting in the extra effort to help his students learn. I doubt that he is getting paid extra for the time he puts in at lunch and after school to help these children. But more importantly, I applaud him for trying to teach this valuable lesson: that some things in life are challenging and you need to put additional effort into a difficult endeavor in order to succeed.

I hope my child is fortunate enough to have Mr. Dolan as his teacher at HRMS. He seems to have the same values that my husband and I are trying to teach our child.

Erin Burnham

Hood River

Re-elect Johnson

My wife and I have had the pleasure of knowing Mark Johnson for many years. His sons worked at our restaurants and we’ve attended the same church for years.

He is levelheaded, professional and very concerned for our children. At a sport event for our son, my wife heard a person speaking to another parent about their day in Salem, making a grant presentation to the legislature for funding some critical programs.

The person said, “I didn’t want to like Johnson going in there, because of this PERS thing, but, Wow! That guy is good. He was calm, so well mannered and effective. He blew me away.” My wife and I shared a smile and she whispered, “awesome.”

That’s the impression anyone will have after speaking to Mark Johnson.

A write in campaign to attack a man so qualified is sadly typical in the new partisan era.

Don’t hurt our school system or our chances for better education. Please join my wife and I in voting for Mark Johnson.

Mike Caldwell

Hood River

Retain Virk

Please join me in voting for Jan Veldhuisen Virk for Hood River County School Board.

I served with Jan for a number of years on the Hood River County School Board and for even more years as part of its budget committee.

You would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated and trusted board member. Jan has the ability to address the tough issues that face public education today and at the same time she cares deeply for our children and our community.

Jan knows that schools are more than balance sheets and budgets. Her interest has always been about providing the highest quality education possible for children within our resources.

Retain Jan Veldhuisen Virk Hood River County School Board.

Randy Holmstrom

Cascade Locks

Vote for Johnson

His name is the only one shown on the ballot, but he is being opposed by a write-in candidate so your vote for him is important.

The strength of any board is directly tied to the commitment and dedication of its members. Hood River County School Board members are Democrat, Independent and Republican. But one thing is clear. When we do school board work, we leave our political affiliations aside.

The difference in our backgrounds helps us when deliberating to fully understand issues and how segments of our community could be affected by decisions we make.

While we may disagree with each other at times, we always come together to ensure that our actions result in what is best for kids. Education is our priority, not partisanship.

Please join us in supporting Mark Johnson for re-election. He has proven to be a team player and valuable board member.

His commitment and dedication to improving education here in Hood River and at the state level is something we all should be proud of.

Liz Whitmore

Bob Danko

Hood River County School District Board Members

Johnson stance questioned

Supporters of adequate funding for schools and re-electing Mark Johnson to the HRCSD school board seem unaware of the position of Rep. Johnson’s party on taxes, as well as his recent voting record on this issue.

Republicans have successfully framed the need to increase school funding as justification for cutting PERS retirement benefits.

Yet in Johnson’s Republican party, this same justification does not apply to the possibility of even slightly raising taxes on corporations and wealthy households to help fund schools.

Republicans, Johnson included, blocked a provision in a House bill last month that would have raised $200 million for schools simply by closing loopholes in the state tax code by which corporations and high wage-earners get out of paying a fair share.

Johnson’s much-noted absences at recent school board meetings were to cast votes in favor of deep cuts to middle-class public pension recipients and against tax increases on the wealthy.

If Mark Johnson is unequivocally committed to stable, adequate funding for schools, he will have to jump ship from party politics and recognize new sources of revenue as well as some budget cuts will be needed to meet obligations to pensioners as well as school children.

Anything short of that puts Rep. Johnson in the unenviable position of trying to fix a school budget crisis in Hood River that he helped create in Salem.

Steve Hawley

Hood River

Virk respected

My wife Susan served for 18 years on the Hood River County School Board. She did not continue on the school board when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 54.

During her time on the board we often discussed school district issues before and after board meetings.

Susan worked with many school board members over 18 years and she was always very complementary about the way Jan Veldhuisen Virk performed her duties as a board member. She said she was fair, responsible and interested in providing the best education for kids that we can with the dollars that we have.

Susan would, if she could, enthusiastically support Jan in this school board election.

Mike McCarthy

Parkdale

Schuppe for Library

Please write-in Bob Schuppe for the Hood River County Library Board of Directors.

Bob is currently a member of the Planning Commission and has been a member of the Library Board of Directors in years past.

He is a man of moral character, intellect and dedication to thoroughly investigate and implement an internet filtering program that would protect our children from exposure to inappropriate/pornographic subject manner, while providing options to “unblock” individual computers as necessary (via staff members) when researching sensitive topics.

Currently there are no filters in place - including the children’s library downstairs. That is a concern!

Many latchkey children depend on the library as a safe place to go to use computers. It’s time to implement the changes needed to insure that our community’s library is safe and family-friendly.

It is my opinion that Bob Schuppe is the best candidate to represent our community.

Chris Weseman

Hood River

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