Beaverton High School

Beaverton is asking voters to approve a $723 million dollar bond to rebuild Beaverton High School and Raleigh Hills Elementary School.

Rob Manning / OPB

Districts from Beaverton to La Grande have school bonds on this May’s ballot. If passed, money raised by the bonds will go toward upgrading school facilities across the state.

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In Crook County, the district proposes using bond funds to add additional classrooms in two elementary schools and a middle school. For Days Creek Charter School (Douglas County School District #15), its planning a new multipurpose building that includes a cafetorium (a stage and cafeteria) and a new gym. The proposed bond for Lebanon Community Schools includes improvements to the community pool.

Other districts with bonds on the ballot include North Bend, South Umpqua, Gervais, Roseburg, Morrow County, Dallas, and Amity.

A five-year local option tax renewal to pay for school staff, including teachers, is on the ballot for voters in the Corvallis School District.

Every school district with a bond on the ballot is set to receive a state grant if voters approve the bond measures.

Roseburg Public Schools, Morrow County School District, and Beaverton are all seeking bonds over $100 million.

Several school districts in Oregon are using one-time federal funds to complete capital improvement projects.

In its FAQ about the bond, Roseburg officials state that some of the projects funded under the proposed bond would also be funded with federal funds known as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER, fund.

“The district has set aside approximately $6 million in COVID relief funding to assist in the installation and renovation of HVAC systems district-wide to provide air ventilation and temperature control,” officials shared.

Materials explaining the bond note that $37 million of the proposed $154 million bond would go toward “district-wide projects” including HVAC, roofing, plumbing, and electrical repairs.

Related: https://www.opb.org/election2022/

Beaverton is asking voters to approve a $723 million dollar bond to rebuild Beaverton High School and Raleigh Hills Elementary School.

If approved, Beaverton residents would have a 25 cent tax increase on what voters are already paying from a 2014 bond: a total of $2.34 per $1000 of assessed property value. For a homeowner with a house at the average property value of $303,021, that would mean a tax increase of about $76 per year.

After the two school modernizations, the largest bulk of bond funds will go towards deferred maintenance.

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“The wear and tear on schools, upgrading playgrounds, upgrading different HVAC systems, upgrading freezers in our kitchens, new buses,” listed campaign chair and Beaverton board vice chair Becky Tymchuk.

“Every single time, every single month, we have more deferred maintenance.”

If approved, the bond will also fund laptop replacements and seismic improvements at six middle schools.

In one of several videos explaining the plan for the bond funds, Beaverton construction project manager Eric Bolken uses Legos to illustrate the state of many Beaverton buildings, and how schools could be better protected against natural disasters.

“As the ground shakes in an earthquake, structures have a tendency to tip over,” Bolken explains, shaking the foundation of a Lego “building.”

“The goal of our seismic upgrades is to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Bolken explains that one potential solution is adding in “shear walls,” thin walls to reinforce a building.

The video notes that, according to an analysis, 40 of the districts 53 buildings don’t meet the district’s standard for earthquake safety.

Tymchuk said the seismic improvements will also be a benefit to the broader Beaverton community.

“It is just very important to us as a school board and as a community that we keep our students and staff in safe buildings,” Tymchuk said. “But these are also buildings, as we make them more safe, as we build new, that will be able to be used as evacuation centers for our community at large.”

Two community colleges, Tillamook Bay and Linn-Benton are seeking bonds for $14.4 million and $16 million, respectively, to pay for new buildings officials say will serve students and community needs.

In a press release announcing the Tillamook Bay Community College bond plans for a healthcare education building, TBCC board chair Kathy Gervasi noted the need for registered nurses in the county.

“The board took this action because we believe strongly the college needs to train a local workforce to meet current and future needs for our county,” Gervasi said. The release notes that TBCC is Oregon’s only community college without a nursing program.

“This building will give us added capacity to locally train healthcare professionals for this critical workforce shortage.”

Linn-Benton’s plans include constructing a new agriculture education center that will house classrooms for its agricultural and animal science programs. Other buildings set to benefit from potential bond funds include a child care center on the school’s main campus.

Oregon ballots must be received or postmarked by May 17.

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