It is with great sadness that we report the sudden passing of one of our founding members, John Burns. John never gave up trying to help improve Beaverton schools for every student even after his own two sons had long graduated from Aloha High School. As the former Band Booster President at Aloha, John knew firsthand the value of music and fought passionately for music education to be available for all of Beaverton’s children from Kindergarten on.
John served for three years on the Beaverton School Board Budget Committee, ending as Chair just last spring. His encyclopedic mastery of the budget and his untiring commitment to pursuit of the truth, no matter where it tried to hide, inspired us to come forward and stay engaged, keeping our eyes on the goal and brushing off discouragement. John was the embodiment of the “happy warrior”, a self-described ‘optimist’ who always made a dapper figure in his cut suit, cowboy boots and BFoM-red silk scarf. Often, after some intense research and analysis, John would make us take time to stop and celebrate our achievements together, bonding us and strengthening us for the work ahead.
John’s death is a deep shock, but we can still hear his voice urging us on, so we will leave you with some of his words, his simple and eloquent testimony from the November, 2012 School Board meeting. Considered now in retrospect, it is a prescient statement of the absolute necessity that the community not stop until our voices are truly heard.
Testimony to the School Board
November 13, 2012
Hello, my name is John Burns, and you all know me, I live in Lee Ann’s district, father of two boys who went to Beaver Acres, Five Oaks, and Aloha High School. I’ve served on the budget committee and applied to serve again.
I’m really here about the budget process and public involvement, and to build on the gentleman before me. I know last year, in September, October, November, one of you got to write an article about the low participation in the meetings the District was offering. Well, here tonight, we have high participation. That’s a different kind of energy, maybe it presents a little different challenge to the budget process, but I’m out there telling people that the budget is a year-round topic. They have to participate, they have to let you know what their thoughts are, and so forth, and the process flows better; the process delivers something that more and more people understand why it came out that way.
That’s really all my message is: take advantage of this participation and listen to what these people have to say. Last year at this time you took the survey and people said class size was very important to them. You went to the tabletop exercises–right up front, the first big item you had was 10 days. The people took that 10 days and put it down on the chart, and scrambled to make up the rest of the balance.
So the public is speaking–I don’t know that you got what you could have gotten out of that process–but I’m really thrilled that the level of participation has jumped up, as far as I can see. Let’s make the most of it. Thanks.