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District is in early stages of deciding whether to pursue a bond in May 2020 or November 2020 for facilities projects and maintenance

Canby School District is currently exploring the potential to put a general obligation bond on the May 2020 or November 2020 ballot that, if passed, would fund facilities projects and maintenance. It would not be for the purpose of new construction.

At this time, District Communications Coordinator and Project Manager Autumn Foster said no specific projects are identified and no specific dollar amount for a bond is set since the district is still exploring whether or not to refer a bond to voters.

The district recently completed a Long Range Facilities Plan as required by Oregon law, and Foster said that as part of that process, "architects and engineers identified many projects and some deferred maintenance that the district should consider in its future planning."

But the district does not plan to build any new facilities in coming years, according to Foster.

"A demographic study included in the Long Range Facilities Report assures that the district's capacity is adequate for the foreseeable future," Foster said. "That said, if the community saw a significant need for a new facility, the district would certainly consider that feedback into future planning."

The school district's last bond in 2004 funded the construction of Baker Prairie Middle School and that bond will be paid off in 2019. Therefore, a potential new bond could come at just the right time and may not raise residents' taxes.

"Any bond referred to voters could be a renewal of current tax rates that would support projects and deferred maintenance," Foster said, "as prioritized by community input."

That "community input" will come in two ways.

First of all, the district is hiring a public affairs firm to poll a sample group of 400 community residents. The poll will contain questions that will help the school board determine if there is enough support to succeed in the May election or if the board needs more time, Foster said at a Sept. 5 board work session.

With polling information in-hand in October, the board is expected to decide on Nov. 7 whether to pursue May 2020 election, November 2020 election or pursue a bond at all.

Secondly, the district has plans to form a bond advisory group made up of key administrators, staff, teaching and learning representatives, board members, students, parents and more. If the board decides to form the advisory group, outreach will begin at the end of September.

The district has gone ahead and applied for the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program grant that, if a bond passes and if the grant is awarded, would amount to $4.8 million for Canby schools, per Denise Lapp, the district's director of finance.

The total cost to the district to pursue the bond is estimated to be $127,500, according to materials from the board's Aug. 20 meeting. This includes the cost of initial polling at about $41,700, the cost of hiring a bond consultant at about $68,000, printing, postage, digital advertising and election filing costs.


Kristen Wohlers
Reporter
503-263-7512
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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