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District bond passed with 54.5% of the vote, a difference of nearly 1,200 votes.

FPMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Cornelius is getting a new school building expected to be ready for the 2025 school year.orest Grove School District won big on election night, Nov. 8, as voters approved a $121.9 million school bond.

"We're feeling great gratitude for our community. We understand the economic reality right now that we are all in, and our community still chose to support public education. I think is really significant," Superintendent David Parker said. "It was a big ask."

The bond passed with 54.5% of the vote, a difference of nearly 1,200 votes. Currently, the school bond levy rate is $2.15 per $1,000 of assessed home value, which school officials say is the lowest the rate has been since 2001. To raise the $121.9 million, the district proposed to increase the levy rate to $3.65 per $1,000.

Finance Director Ilean Clute told the school board Monday, Nov. 14, that the last school bond, approved in 2010, earned the district $67.6 in revenue, around $2.3 million over expectations. The district focused much of the 2010 bond revenue on remodeling the high school, including a gym large enough for graduation ceremonies as well as new buildings at Joseph Gale and Fern Hill elementary schools.

Notably, the district plans to construct a new Cornelius Elementary School to open in the fall of 2025. The current building was constructed in 1943 and lacks many basic amenities of modern education. Parker said the new Cornelius Elementary will allow the district accommodate its elementary school enrollment for the "foreseeable future."

The district will use the bond to build pre-kindergarten classrooms and offer four-year-old slots at every elementary school. In 2016, Forest Grove opened its first pre-kindergarten classrooms at Echo Shaw and Cornelius elementary schools. Last school year, there were pre-kindergarten classes at Cornelius, Echo Shaw and Fern Hill elementary schools. This year, the district is adding the first pre-kindergarten classrooms of around 18 students each to Joseph Gale Elementary, while adding second classrooms at Echo Shaw and Cornelius.

The bond will also allow the district to update security on its campuses.

"We will be looking at the way in which you can enter our school buildings in order to toughen up those exteriors," Parker said. "For anyone with (malicious) intent, we will make it much harder to get into our buildings."

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