To the Editor:

This last issue of The Nugget Newspaper contained three large advertisements supporting the election of Lon Kelstrom, Pat Thompson and Jerry Bogart for Sisters City Council.

All three ads say "Authorized and paid for by Citizens for Sisters." In the State of Oregon Elections Division database you find out that the contributors and members of the Citizens for Sisters PAC are Bill Willitts, Chuck Hoyt, Steve Rodgers, Jim Bell and Curt Kallberg.  Eric Dolson is the treasurer and appears to be managing the campaign.

Contributions from the list of players listed above are nearly $5,000. Talk about "buying" an election! This is big money politics in Sisters. 

What's the agenda? What are the special interests that are trying to take over the Sisters City Council? As a starting point, this group of citizens are builders, developers and land owners, and the three candidates they support are builders, developers and land owners.

It is not too hard to figure the rest.

Ed Protas

•••

To the Editor:

The Sisters School District has not made its case for the local option levy. 

Based on data from the Deschutes County Treasurer's Office, taxes collected by the local option have increased 8.1 percent per year from 2002 through and including June 30, 2007. The rate per $1,000 in assessed value has not changed but the total tax collected has increased significantly. This is the result of the automatic three percent increase in assessed value, new construction and re-sales that reset assessed value. Eight percent per year is about triple the rate of inflation. Since 2002, income from the State School Fund has increased more than 23 percent.

In May 2006, the District forecasted enrollment increasing to 1,450 by 2008. Enrollment has gone down, not up. There are now approximately 1,200 students, about the same as 2004. The full-time equivalent teaching staff in 2004 was 63. What is it today? How much has District overhead increased since 2004? Are there cuts that can be made?

The District claims the local option covers 10 percent of the operating budget. What is the real impact of a 10 percent reduction? Class sizes could increase by 2-3 students, how bad is that? How do we compare to other "good" districts? How many other districts have a local option tax?

Voters deserve answers to these questions. Unemployment is up and people are hurting. Do we really need to continue the local option given current economic conditions? 

Mike Morgan

•••

To the Editor:

I heartily agree with the school board's "Best in Sisters" award for Jon Renner. I can also testify to Principal Macauley's statement of Mr. Renner's significance.

Prineville's gain is a profound and distressing loss. Without Jon Renner at Sisters High school, our children will leave Sisters a little less sure of their own ideals. Less prepared to defend their beliefs and rights. They will be a little more timid about expressing their opinions. The conversation with your children around the dinner table, less thoughtful, certainly less weighty.

What a gift it was to our family to have the kids come home at night and reflect on what they had learned (questioned) in his class. "Why do you and Dad believe this?" " Why do other people believe that?"

It was such a superb opportunity to reaffirm beliefs, explain why, and impart knowledge and facts alongside of values. I felt like a true partner in education.

Few teachers really get our kids thinking as passionately. Absolutely no one has prepared our children better for the real world; isn't that what education is about?

I read somewhere recently, "Open dialog has often been described as a foundation of democratic society because it is in conversation, and not simply expression, that we test each other's beliefs while noticing and becoming responsible for our differences." That seems to sum up Mr. Renner's agenda for all of his students.

If the tenor at our school has become so divisive and uncomfortable, causing the finest to leave, the education of our children (that we all seem so committed to) will become mediocre at the very best.

Susanne Redfield