Pubdate: Wed, 24 Dec 2003
Source: Hood River News (OR)
Copyright: Eagle Newspapers Inc., 2003
Author: Judy Cushing


No matter how you slice it, the Juntos Project that U.S. Rep. Greg
Walden helped secure in Congress for the Hood River and Beaverton
school districts is the exact opposite of "pork barrel" spending that
Tad McGeer of Underwood, Wash., complained about in a Dec. 13 letter.

The Juntos Project will help minority students increase academic
achievement, reduce alcohol and drug abuse in their communities and
increase parental involvement in their children's education. This
project will save taxpayers money in the long run by keeping children
off drugs and alcohol, and by reducing law enforcement and correction
costs that are part of the tab for substance abuse.

In Hood River County, other substance abuse prevention programs
spearheaded by Congressman Walden have reduced the annual dropout rate
for Hispanic students in the Hood River School District from 11
percent annually (or 44 percent for four high school years) to less
than 2 percent annually. Alcohol and drug use rates have declined as
well. The Juntos Project will reap similar results, first in Beaverton
and then, hopefully, throughout the state. When you consider the gains
of such a program against its cost, the Juntos Project isn't pork
barrel spending, it's money well spent.

Judy Cushing

President/CEO Oregon Partnership
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