By JONATHAN THOMPSON
Stop someone from Keizer on the street and ask them what they love about their town and you will hear things like “small town feel” and “spirit of volunteerism.” You will also hear Keizerites talk about how much they love our schools. From the largest elementary school in the Keizer-Salem School District to the many “Go Celts” signs which pop up during various sports seasons—in Keizer, we love our schools!
On May 15 we will be asked to support our schools with a new bond measure. At the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, we are asking you to vote “yes” on the bond. We don’t come to this position lightly. This bond is expensive. However, for three reasons, we think this bond is an important investment in our schools.
First, the money raised in this bond will help needed capacity at many of our local schools. Rather than build another high school in the district which would send some Keizer kids to high school in Salem, this bond adds capacity to McNary, keeping Keizer kids in Keizer.
Keizer is home to the largest elementary school in the Keizer-Salem School District. Keizer Elementary was built during a time when schools did not have cafeterias. Without a cafeteria, students rotate through a kitchen to get lunch and then take it back to their classrooms. With the number of kids at the school, in order to get everyone through the lunch line, the first group of kids starts lunch at 11 a.m. That makes for a long “afternoon.” With passage of this bond, Keizer Elementary gets a cafeteria.
Second, the Keizer Chamber supports this bond because it invests in Career Technical Education (CTE). These are the programs which teach our high school kids trades like carpentry, culinary arts and auto shop. These programs teach students a skill they can use to get a job right out of high school. They turn today’s students into tomorrow’s employees.
Finally, anyone who has tried to travel down Lockhaven or Chemawa between 7 and 7:30 a.m. knows the traffic around McNary High School can be bad. With the passage of this bond, parking lots and traffic patterns will be added and improved.
For more information about what is happening at your school, please visit bondinfo.salkeiz.k12.or.us.
To put this bond together, the school district assembled a group of citizens from all over the district to make recommendations. Those recommendations formed the basis for what we are being asked to approve. We appreciate the school district engaging community members and then listening to them.
The Keizer Chamber of Commerce asks you take a look at what passage of this bond will mean for our kids in Keizer. We hope you will support it, but either way this is an important election. No matter how you feel about the bond, please make sure you study the issue, vote and return your ballot.
The Keizer Chamber of Commerce is made up of over 400 local businesses. For more information please visit www.keizerchamber.org.
(Jonathan Thompson is a member of the board of directors at the Keizer Chamber of Commerce and serves as chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee.)