Letters at length, April 21

Keep McCollom as principal at Bellview

Superintendent Juli Di Chiro has proposed to lay off the current Bellview principal, Christine McCollom, as well as the school psychologist, Diane Berry.

This a grave mistake, since it will effectively render this excellent school leaderless and deprive it of the two people who have worked very hard to make it the great school that it is.

From what we are told, Mrs. Berry was last hired, so she is first laid off, which is apparently the policy district-wide — except in the case of Mrs. McCollom, who drew a "short straw," supposedly.

This does not seem to be in keeping with the layoff policy for the district, since Mrs. McCollom was not the last principal hired. Why then is she being laid off? Certainly not because she is pregnant, I hope. Old-fashioned cronyism? One can only speculate.

Mrs. McCollom should be retained as principal of Bellview. She has spent numerous hours coordinating the new construction in addition to her regular duties. She has maintained and strengthened the parent involvement at Bellview and its strong community support. She has worked hard to keep the school on track during these tough economic times. Most importantly, she has maintained its academic excellence and optimistic atmosphere during her time there.

Apparently Mrs. McCollom is to be replaced by Michelle Zundel, who has a distinctly different educational philosophy than that which has made Bellview what it is today. Losing both Mrs. McCollom and Mrs. Berry and installing Michelle Zundel as principal of Bellview would be a horrific mistake. I urge everyone who is concerned to contact the school board members individually and voice your support for Christine McCollom and Bellview Elementary.

Kermit Compeau


Reinvest in education of Oregonians

From the day I was born my mother had a plan for me. She told me, year after year, that I was going to go to college, because in this life I wasn't going to get by without a college education. Being a graduate of Southern Oregon University herself, she continued to fuel her desire to see me become an educated citizen. Going into college, I knew that my family would not be able to help me fund my education. Being from a family that sat right above the poverty line for my entire life left the idea of money saved for my education a laughable concept.

So here I am today, in a state ranked 44th in post secondary education funding, with the fear that as tuition continues to increase, my ability to finish my education will slip slowly through my grasp. The government is my only assistance, and with proposed raises in tuition sitting at 7.5 percent for next year (and unknown raises in the years after) I fear that not only will the end of my education be a gray concept for me but also that post secondary education won't even be an option for many incoming freshmen applicants in the years ahead.

In a state such as Oregon, where the unemployment rate sits at 12.1 percent, it is critical that every citizen is allowed the opportunity to access higher education. Every qualified applicant should have the opportunity to attend an Oregon university and have access to an affordable education there.

I want to be able to finish my education without being thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. I want to be able to graduate on time. I also want to be able to stand up in front of my family in four years time and know that I did them all proud.

For my dreams — and the dreams of my peers — to become a reality, Oregon needs to reinvest in higher education (specifically the Oregon University System) and provide Oregonians with more realistic and affordable opportunities to pursue postsecondary education.

It's time to reinvest in the education of Oregon citizens. It's time to reinvest in our future.

Cody A. Otis

Arts and Letters Senator

Associated Students of Southern Oregon University

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