Across Oregon, at least 17 school districts had measures on ballots around the state.
On top of that, Multnomah County voters also supported “Preschool for All,” a ballot measure that will make preschool available to the youngest learners in Oregon’s most populous county.
Voters agreed to renew tax levies in Ashland, Riverdale and Seaside to financially support schools and specific programs.
|School district||Bond or levy?||Amount?||Pass or fail?*||State matching grant?|
|Alsea||Bond||$2.1M||Pass, 52% to 48%||Yes|
|Ashland||Levy (renewal)||$1.29/$1000 in assessed value||Pass, 74% to 26%||N/A|
|Bandon||Bond||$4M||Pass, 65% to 35%||Yes|
|Bethel||Bond||$99.3M||Pass, 66% to 34%||Yes|
|Corbett||Bond||$4M||Pass, 56% to 44%||Yes|
|Enterprise||Bond||$4M||Pass, 57% to 43%||Yes|
|Estacada||Bond||$22.9M||Fail, 43% to 57%||Yes|
|Harney County SD 3 (Burns)||Bond||$15M||Fail, 40% to 60%||Yes|
|McKenzie||Bond||$15.2M||Fail, 48% to 52%||Yes|
|Newberg||Bond||$141M||Pass, 55% to 45%||Yes|
|Perrydale||Bond||$3M||Pass, 57% to 43%||Yes|
|Pilot Rock||Bond||$8M||Pass, 59% to 41%||Yes|
|Portland||Bond||$1.2B||Pass, 75% to 25%||No|
|Redmond||Bond||$27.5M||Pass, 58% to 42%||Yes|
|Riverdale||Levy (renewal)||$1.37/$1000||Pass, 66% to 34%||N/A|
|Seaside||Levy (renewal)||$.52/$1000||Pass, 52% to 48%||N/A|
|South Wasco County||Bond||$4M||Pass, 55% to 45%||Yes|
*Percentages as of 1 p.m., 11/4
In the Riverdale School District, officials asked voters to support a 5-year local option tax for “district operations.” The money will help the district retain classroom teachers, fund art and music programs, and “support operational needs such as security and maintenance,” according to the measure’s voter pamphlet statement.
The Riverdale levy extends a tax that voters have passed four times in the last 20 years.
Thirteen other districts placed bonds on the ballot, including Portland Public Schools. Its largest bond package ever passed handily, with 75% of PPS voters supporting the continued renovations of the district’s high schools and other capital improvements.
In east Multnomah County, voters in the Corbett School District passed a bond to support schools. Previous packages had failed four times due in part to a lack of trust in the school district.
At $4 million, the bond will support the relocation of Corbett’s middle school and district office, and a renovation to its high school facilities. The district said this bond will “begin to address a portion of approximately $28 million of identified long-term capital improvement needs.”
“I’m pleased and proud of the community for putting the past where it belongs and moving forward for the kids,” said Superintendent Dan Wold. Wold is new to the district, having taken over the job from longtime school leader Randy Trani, who accepted a superintendent job in Alaska, over the summer.
Despite an economy hurt by COVID-19, voters overwhelmingly showed up for public schools.
Voters supported larger bonds in Newberg, Bethel and Redmond.
Overall, bonds focused on health and safety improvements, as well as renovating old school buildings. Some districts, like Newberg, Redmond and Estacada, focused part of their bond proposals on creating capacity and space for students or more hands-on learning opportunities.
However, three bonds failed in Estacada, Harney County School District 3 (Burns), and the McKenzie School District.
Voters rejected a $15.2 million bond to renovate McKenzie Elementary School and other facilities upgrades. As reported by KLCC, the school board had asked voters to reject the measure to help the community recover from the Holiday Farm Fire, which burned through the area in September.
Voters also rejected a bond to support the Estacada School District. Maggie Kelly, Estacada’s director of communications and community engagement, said the district remains committed to including the community in decision making.
“We are disappointed for our students — the work is there in our schools that needs to be done to provide safe spaces for our kids,” Kelly said. “We will just continue to engage our community so that in the future they can feel comfortable and confident investing in our students.”
Several districts are set to receive Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching grants to further as supplemental funding for their school construction projects. All but Portland Public Schools received a commitment to state funds to support district bond projects if passed by voters. Several districts set to receive funds based on May 2020 election results, including Perrydale and Newberg, delayed their bonds until the November election.
Two of the districts that delayed their bond, Estacada and Harney County, lost their bond — and the state money that would have followed it.