I am a product of the Coos Bay public education system (varsity athlete, valedictorian, state and national speech and debate competitor, Mr. MHS, student body vice-president) and have since moved to Portland and become a public high school educator myself.
Becoming a teacher is not something we do for the money (trust me), it's something that we do because we care about the education of our children and the future of our communities. It's so easy to neglect our schools that need constant updating and renovation because so few of us voters regularly spend time in these facilities. Those of us that are working in public schools, day in and day out, see and live with sinking roofs, outdated technology that doesn't work with modern education resources, broken desks, battered walls, and all of the other wear and tear that inevitably happens with schools.
It would be wonderful if a wealthy donor would fly in and single-handedly pay for all of our education needs, but I'm afraid that this is not realistic (it hasn't happened yet and there's no reason to think that it will happen in the future). If our schools continue to dilapidate and degrade, what do we expect is going to happen to our communities? I feel that as a community we have the opportunity to say that we believe in investing in our youth, we believe in the importance of education, and we believe in supporting our communities, because if we don't make the sacrifice and invest in ourselves, then who else will? I always try and imagine Coos Bay 10 years and 20 years from now and what it will look like.
I hope that you will join me in supporting Measure 6-166 and send a message about our values as a strong and supportive community that believes we have the chance to shape a fruitful future for ourselves.