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The $65 million bond was approved by 53% of voters, with funds earmarked to repair aging schools

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Voters are giving a thumbs up in early results to the $65 million Centennial School District bond.

The $65 million bond to upgrade Centennial School District buildings passed 53% to 47% with a margin of less than 500 votes.

"I'm so excited for the district. We needed this so badly," said Shar Giard, co-chair of Centennial's bond committee.

As with other races and initiatives, Centennial bond boosters were hampered by the social distancing restrictions put in place to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Centennial bond supporters could not knock on doors or speak to civic and neighborhood groups, but they did leave literature at homes in the district right up until Monday night, said Giard.

"Everytime we planned something, we said 'no we can't do that now because of the coronavirus,'" Giard said.

The bond will not raise property taxes, because it replaces an expiring bond at the same price to taxpayers.

Centennial is not planning any new schools with the bond money. The bulk of the bond funds, about $37.5 million, will be used to repair Centennial's aging schools. Some buildings need new roofs. Plumbing and electrical systems will be repaired and upgraded. Unsafe carpeting will be replaced.

The bond also will facilitate the district's plans to move sixth graders to middle school from elementary school. The district plans to change Oliver Elementary School,15840 S.E. Taylor St., back to a middle school at a cost of about $8 million.

The bond will also pay to add gyms to four elementary schools that do not have them. Meadows, Patrick Lynch, Powell Butte and Parklane elementary schools do not have gyms and their multipurpose rooms are often over scheduled, a study of the district's facilities said.

About $2.8 million of the bond will be used to make safety and security upgrades at all of the district schools.

These results are as of Wednesday morning. This is the first time since 2004 the district was successful in passing a bond. Voters turned down Centennial in 2016 on a $85 million bond to build a new middle school, add five multipurpose rooms to elementary schools and repair and upgrade aging buildings.

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