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$34.3 million bond will pay for a long list of improvements, including replacing Dundee Elementary School

PMG FILE PHOTO - Construction of a new Dundee Elementary School is included in the school bond passed by voters last week.

Following the first two rounds of ballot counting by Nov. 5, Newberg and Dundee voters appear to have approved a $141 million construction bond proposed by the Newberg School District.

The bond will make significant improvements to schools like Edwards Elementary, construct a new Dundee Elementary School and add to Newberg High School's offerings in career and technical education (CTE), among other projects.

Voters approved the bond with 10,119 votes in favor and 8,317 votes against, according to the Yamhill County clerk's count as of Thursday morning.

"We are so very grateful to this community for their support for this bond, especially during a time where we know so many people are struggling during this economic situation," said Gregg Koskela, district communications coordinator. "We are grateful for people supporting our students in this way and the margins by which they did.

"This community has shown time and again over decades that they support our schools. They want our schools to be good, because that creates citizens in our community to make it an even better place to live. So many volunteers stepped up and did tons of work getting information out and answering questions. We are so proud of their work."PMG FILE PHOTO - Voters approved the bond with 10,119 votes in favor and 8,317 votes against, according to the Yamhill County clerk's office.

Measure 36-205 includes construction of a new Dundee Elementary School ($34.3 million estimate); a remodel and expansion of Edwards Elementary School ($17.2 million); safety and maintenance improvements at all existing schools, including seismic updates to old buildings, fixes to roofs and pipes, disaster preparedness and updated air conditioning/HVAC systems (about $23 million); and a significant investment in CTE programs at Newberg High School ($23.8 million).

The cost to taxpayers will be 78 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on their homes, bringing the total effective tax rate to $1.52 per $1,000, which includes the lingering cost of previous bonds that soon will be paid off.

The real market value of the average home in Newberg is about $397,000, according to the real estate website Zillow. Assessed value for tax purposes is typically around 60% of the real market value, so the average assessed value in Newberg is approximately $238,000. Take the formula for the bond payment of $1.52 per $1,000 of assessed value, and Newberg homeowners will pay an average of $362 in property taxes to fund local school bonds — an increase of $186 from the current rate.

Board chairwoman Brandy Penner and superintendent Joe Morelock hosted a number of informational sessions for voters, and communication with the community about the details of the bond was one of the district's primary focuses. District officials set up an informational website on the bond and sent out mailers to voters as well.

Now, the projects that district officials have been talking about will come to fruition with the passage of this bond.

"After the fact, it's easy to say that we are grateful for the support of the community, but we definitely did not take that for granted," Koskela said. "We're glad to get the chance now, with the community's blessing, to see what these plans will look like for Dundee, for Edwards, for Newberg High School, and for all of our students. The improvements to our CTE programs at NHS are going to create so many students who are job-ready and will make immediate impacts on the community."

Larger projects like the replacement of Dundee Elementary School and major renovations to Edwards Elementary School will take multiple years. Other projects, like replacement of HVAC units in area schools, can happen as soon as the coming months.

The district now will seek out a construction company to bid on the work. After a construction company is chosen, the work begins of implementing the plans laid out by the district in the bond proposal.

"The next step will be putting out requests for proposals," Koskela said. "We have a standard process to request proposals for a company to do all our construction and design work for this bond. We want to take good care of taxpayer money and make sure everything is open and transparent. The right company will take good care of taxpayer dollars and implement our vision for these projects."


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