Hermiston herald. (Hermiston, Or.) 1994-current, April 26, 2017, Page A8, Image 8

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    A8 • HERMISTONHERALD.COM
Proud Hermistonian
supports bond
I am writing on behalf
of “Vote Yes for Kids”
school bond on the up-
coming election. I am
writing as a concerned cit-
izen, parent and business
leader. My family moved
to Hermiston 6 years ago.
We were immediately im-
pressed by the warm re-
ception of this inclusive
community and the obvi-
ous value this city placed
on education. Our Realtor
made a point to show us
all the new schools.
Based on our address,
when our children began
school they weren’t en-
rolled in one of the newer
facilities, but instead the
oldest, Rocky Heights. I
can tell you that the qual-
ity of their education thus
far has been wonderful
based on the tremendous
teaching staff and the ob-
vious intention the admin-
istration of that school
puts into character devel-
opment along with school
work. However, I can
also say our first and third
grader have been nega-
tively impacted by the in-
frastructure of their aging
school. Crowding in the
cafeteria means they often
have less than 20 minutes
to eat their lunch. Our
daughter tells us often that
she didn’t get to finish eat-
ing. Our thirrd-grade son
shares a modular class-
room with his classmates.
It’s evident his teacher is
making the most of the
limited space, but more
modular classrooms are
not the answer.
I encourage your readers
to consider the long-term
impact of this proposed
bond. Our school enroll-
ment continues to grow as
our thriving city grows.
Even though this communi-
ty invested heavily in edu-
cation in the recent past, it’s
not enough for the future,
or even the present.
I am proud to call my-
self a Hermistonian and
proud to be raising our
family here. I’m proud
of the fine educators who
take such great care of our
children, and ask that we
provide the necessary sup-
port to help them!
JOSH BURNS
HERMISTON
The needs is now
for new schools
I support the Herm-
iston School District’s
bond levy to build/replace
three elementary schools,
add to the high school and
update Sandstone Middle
school.
I was a member of
the School Districts Fa-
cility Master Planning
Committee and later a
member of the Citizen’s
Review Committee. We
spent months and months
reviewing reports, data,
and opinions from ex-
perts before making rec-
ommendations to the
Hermiston School Board.
Therefore, I fully under-
stand the immediate need
of our School District and
how this bond levy will
positively affect our com-
munity.
There has been much
said by others about why
this levy is needed; the
District’s large student
enrollment growth, fix-
ing student safety issues,
and need to repair/up-
date aging infrastructure.
Hermiston also gets a
large positive economic
impact, not only during
the time of building but
a lasting benefit from use
of these facilities through
activities in the future.
Any combination of these
would likely justify what
is being requested but
when all are combined,
from my prospective, the
decision to support this
bond levy becomes easy.
My support is not only
based on the above, but
what I learned from my
90-year- old mother in
2008 when the Hermiston
School District last re-
quested funding. I asked
if she was supportive and
with no hesitation, she
said yes. She went on to
say others had supported
and provided facilities
used by her kids and now
it was her turn to support
those who had children in
school.
She obviously was on
a fixed income but clear-
ly understood her obliga-
tion as well as the value
of having adequate facili-
ties to support education.
While all of my children
have long since graduated
from the Hermiston High
School, I like and agree
with what my mother
said.
Let’s be honest, a 100-
plus million dollar bond
is a lot of money, but
understand if we do not
approve this bond next
month, there still will be
an immediate need that
continues to grow. Either
way we will have to pro-
vide these schools. Will
it be today or tomorrow?
The longer we put this off
the more expensive these
projects become and the
further behind we get
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 2017
GUEST COMMENT
Bond addresses
growth, security
and aging facilities
On May 16, 2017
voters will be asked to
consider a $104 million
bond for the Hermiston
School District. The
bond will address three
challenges that the dis-
trict is facing while
trying to provide a pre-
mier education for our
students. The issues
are enrollment growth,
safety and security and
an aging infrastructure.
The current predicted
growth trends indicate
that the district’s pop-
ulation will increase
24 percent in the next
seven years. If new
construction and ren-
ovation does not hap-
pen, by 2023, one fifth
of the students would
be served in temporary,
modular classrooms.
The funding for these
would have to come
out of the general fund,
taking away the abil-
ity to hire additional
staff, cutting current
programs and putting
pressure on a very lim-
ited maintenance bud-
get.
The safety concerns
at Rocky Heights and
Highland Hills are re-
alities that need to be
addressed. In 2015,
the Hermiston Police
Department’s indepen-
dent safety audit found
these two schools to be
inadequate to meet cur-
rent safety standards
due to their design, age
and lack of life-safe-
ty alert systems. Re-
placing both of these
schools would be the
most prudent and cost
effective measure.
The third challenge
has to do with aging in-
frastructure at the two
elementary schools and
at Sandstone Middle
School. Roofs, me-
chanical units, and util-
ity mechanisms need to
be replaced.
The projects to be
completed, if the bond
passes, would be; re-
place Rocky Heights
and Highland Hills
at their present sites,
build a new elemen-
tary school on dis-
trict owned property
on Theater Lane, ex-
pand Hermiston High
school, make improve-
ments on the district
owned
fairground
property and address
deferred maintenance
and obsolete, failing
heating and cooling
systems.
The board is very
much aware that the
bond amount seems
quite large. The esti-
mated cost being 90
cents per $1,000 of
taxable value. After
much study, discus-
sion and consideration,
the board unanimously
voted to place the bond
on the May ballot.
Hermiston has always
been a community that
strongly supports its
young people and by
voting for the bond this
support will continue
for students in the fu-
ture.
Your consideration
to vote in favor of the
bond is greatly appre-
ciated.
KAREN J. SHERMAN
HERMISTON SCHOOL
DISTRICT BOARD CHAIR
HERMISTON
LETTERS POLICY
The Hermiston Herald welcomes original letters
for publication on public issues and public policies.
Submitted letters must be signed by the author and
include the city of residence and a daytime phone
number. Phone numbers will not be published. Letters
may be mailed to the Hermiston Herald, 333 E.
Main, Hermiston, OR, 97838; or emailed to editor@
hermistonherald.com
in providing the facili-
ties needed for Oregon’s
second fastest growing
school district.
Therefore, for these
reasons and more, I will
vote yes to support the
bond for the Hermiston
School District and hope
that you will also join me
in doing so.
PHIL HAMM
HERMISTON
Should Parks
department
run center?
I wonder at the City
Council’s choice for Park
and Rec department as
managers of the confer-
ence center. Take a look
at Newport Park and
Shockman Field if you
want to see the quality
of their work. Both parks
were once beautiful ball
fields. If a department
can’t maintain what they
have, why would we think
they can do a good job
with something new?
MIKE MEHREN
HERMISTON
Student urges
bond passage
I am writing in sup-
port of the school bond
which is to be voted on,
May 16, 2017 for Hermis-
ton. As a student that has
been through every level
of my education in the
Hermiston School Dis-
trict, I have seen and ex-
perienced many problems
within the facilities. The
majority of these prob-
lems will be addressed
with the passing of the
2017 school bond.
I began my schooling
at Highland Hills Ele-
mentary School in kin-
dergarten. I remember
my parents telling me
about their experiences
at the same elementa-
ry school, and though it
did not occur to me then,
Highland Hills was ob-
viously aging. Providing
enough space for all the
students was a problem.
There was more than one
space used as a class-
room that wasn’t intend-
ed to be. These spaces
had to transform into
rooms since the regular
classrooms and modu-
lars were already at full
capacity. Highland Hills
also does not have a sep-
arate spot designated as a
cafeteria so our gym dou-
bled as the lunch room.
As I have returned to
HHES many times since
I graduated from the fifth
grade, I have seen the
mechanical, structur-
al, and safety issues that
need to be addressed.
When I finished the
fifth grade, I moved
to Sandstone Middle
School. There, for three
years, I formed friend-
ships, created bonds with
the teachers in Team Jef-
ferson, and struggled to
close the stall doors in
the girls’ bathrooms be-
cause most of the locks
were broken. Alongside
my peers, I dealt with the
inconsistent heating and
air conditioning systems,
which seemed to be un-
der maintenance more of-
ten than not. There were
many times that we felt
sorry for the maintenance
crew who were constantly
fighting the same prob-
lems over and over.
Finally, I made my way
to Hermiston High School
and am still seeing many
of the same problems that
the school faced when I
was a freshman. The most
prominent of these issues
is the overcrowding that is
threatening to get worse.
Hermiston High School
was originally built to
accommodate fewer stu-
dents than we currently
house. With our school
district projecting to gain
another 1,100 students
in the next seven years,
it is near impossible to
add more students to the
classrooms,
hallways,
and public spaces. The
three modulars recently
added are not built to last
the wear and tear of thou-
sands of students for very
long and they were placed
over parking spaces that
were already dwindling in
numbers. More students
and teachers are being
forced to park on streets
and in neighborhoods sur-
rounding the high school
because every space is
taken by the time they
arrive. Traffic within the
parking lots is a safety
risk because there is a
lack of order and space
for cars to be able to en-
ter and exit. It is causing
back-ups in road traffic
and cars parked on the
street make it unsafe for
drivers and pedestrians
who cannot see oncom-
ing cars. Lastly, we have
countless issues with our
electrical, plumbing, and
technology systems. An
extra thousand students in
our schools that are get-
ting enough wear as they
are will be a risk to our
education and safety.
Though my career as
a student in the Hermis-
ton School District will
be ending in the next two
years and I will soon be-
come a taxpayer that will
share the expense, I urge
voters to vote “YES” on
the 2017 School Bond.
REED MIDDLETON
JUNIOR, HERMISTON HIGH
SCHOOL
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