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As a longtime resident and business owner in the Medford School District, I strongly believe in the value of both public and private childhood education. I and my two children have attended both public and private schools, and I co-chaired the $189 million bond campaign that passed in 2006 and resulted in much-needed physical improvements to our public schools.

Our area is very fortunate to have an opportunity to partner with Kids Unlimited to provide our most challenged children the educational basis to help overcome their current status and truly succeed, which will benefit us all. I have observed Kids Unlimited for many years and am thoroughly impressed with their staff, system, facility, dedication and demonstrated success, especially in the service of our most underprivileged children. I have the utmost confidence they will continue their success if allowed to operate a charter school, and urge the Medford School Board to vote yes for the VIBES Public Charter School for "our" kids, our community, our economic vitality and our future. — Mark Wisnovsky, Jacksonville

In the current issue of Southern Oregon Public TV's membership publication, Mark Stanislawski reports that a recent national survey confirmed that "Public television is the most trusted institution in America." Forty-six percent of the respondents said they trust PBS "a great deal." America's courts of law finished a distant second at 27 percent.

He also noted that sequestration cuts federal funding for SOPTV by 5 percent. This cut was on top of a 13 percent reduction sustained by public broadcasting during the past two fiscal years.

The Government Accountability Office has concluded that federal funding is essential to the sustainability of the PBS system and the "diffusion of knowledge" to every American.

Small-market stations, such as SOPTV, rely heavily on federal funding because of fewer available granting foundations and corporations. This smaller donor base, plus the challenges faced by a costly infrastructure needed to reach a sparsely populated region, makes it imperative that these small-market stations must look outside the box in developing funding and decreasing costs.

Membership dollars and voluntary contributions are more important than ever as SOPTV continues to provide service to Southern Oregon viewers. Public television is truly a public responsibility. SOPTV thanks its loyal members for their faithful support. — Richard Robertson, chairman, SOPTV board of directors