In a national climate that is ever more divided and divisive, where more and more people feel completely disconnected from the institutions that purport to serve them, it's nice to be able to make a decision that makes sense regardless of where you stand along the cultural/political divide, a decision whose positive results can be seen every day in classrooms right here in Sisters.

Sisters voters should vote "yes" on measure 9-121 to renew Sisters School District's five-year local option levy. The key word there is "renew"; the local option is not a new tax - it extends a levy at the same rate approved by local voters in elections since 2000.

There's a good reason voters have repeatedly signed off on the 75 cents per $1,000 levy: It keeps Sisters schools functioning at a level that has earned them a strong reputation across the state. Local option keeps teachers in classrooms, keeps class sizes down and sustains innovative programs - including the Sisters Eagle Airport-partnered Flight Science program, Chinese language, IEE (Interdisciplinary Environmental Expedition), the Sisters Folk Festival-partnered Luthier Program and Americana Project, Seed to Table and other agriculture-related projects.

Students come out of Sisters High School well prepared for the next phase of their lives. And Sisters schools continue to be a vibrant part of a local culture that values the arts and sciences and creating well-rounded and engaged citizens.

The downside risk of failing to renew local option is clear. Sisters schools continue to struggle to maintain and grow enrollment. Without local option - which supports approximately 15 teaching positions - that situation would become dire.

Support for 9-121 means support for local families, the local economy, and the Sisters culture. It's hard to find a tax measure that delivers the kind of payload that local option has, one that has such immediate and profound local impact, or one that is so easy to support.

Jim Cornelius

Editor in Chief