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Letters, Feb. 12

Schools plan is head-scratching

After reading Sunday’s article on the return to school for most Jackson County schools, I wanted to elaborate on Ashland’s head-scratching plan to “reopen” schools. Many parents have been thoroughly disappointed in the lack of planning, foresight, communication, and direction that the Ashland School District has exhibited.

ASD has decided to leave core (math/reading) classes online, citing test scores from standardized I-ready testing as a main factor, along with lack of space on some campuses.

With 10 months to prepare for reopening, what was ASD doing? Certainly not exploring options like ordering portable classrooms or converting outside spaces. Most likely not researching the overwhelming data showing schools may reopen safely, and must do so, coming from the likes of Dr. Fauci and the Biden administration.

Instead, Ashland focused on projects such as creating an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion board — a worthy and necessary venture, had it not been prioritized during an national emergency. Now, we are faced with an increasing education gap between students with means to pay for pods, tutors and extracurriculars and students who have two working parents, poor internet access and other socio-economic challenges. The very problem ASD has set out to address with the EDI program is being perpetuated by ASD’s own policies.

Science has thoroughly proven that schools are not major factors in COVID spread. ASD should follow the science, and get our kids off computers and back in school to begin repairing the educational and emotional damage that has occurred.

Casey Botts

Ashland

Ready for an EV?

Question: Am I ready to own an EV (electric vehicle)? Many experts think EVs are superior vehicles.

In 2024 the fuel tax will be 40 cents/gallon. Are there city, state, federal incentives available? What is the car’s cost to sit still for 24 hours? Lease, purchase, new, used, cash, loan?

I walk, ride the bike, don’t use a car every day and sometimes take RVTD’s connector. But EVs save money on car maintenance charges and with registration.

Oregon has the nation’s first road usage charge program (pay per mile). Usually a person pays two to four years of registration fees in advance. An EV owner pays a base fee of $43 plus 1.8 cents/mile with a tracking device that fits under the dash.

What about range? A 2017 gets a lot less mileage per charge (104 miles) than newer models. Yes, I was ready; choosing the older model means I have to plan trips a lot differently.

An EV is not the lowest-cost way to get greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. EVs still produce life-cycle emissions in their manufacture. The bottom line: we need to drive less, consume less, waste less, get an energy audit, be politically active and vote.

Louise D. Shawkat

Ashland

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