What is the Bond Measure?
The North Wasco County School Board is considering asking voters to approve a ballot measure that will authorize the school district to issue up to $235 million in bonds over a 20 year period. Proceeds from these bonds would fund the construction of four new schools, as well as safety and technology improvements at schools across the district. If the School Board refers the bond measure to voters, the greater North Wasco community would vote on the School Bond during the upcoming election on November 6th, 2018.
What about using state funds?
In 2016, Oregon raised $60 million from marijuana taxes. The state government collects and distributes this funding across Oregon. North Wasco's share of that money is a tiny fraction of the money necessary to build these four new schools and complete crucial safety and security improvements district-wide. Similarly, annual revenue raised statewide by the Oregon Lottery is small compared to the cost for the needed physical infrastructure improvements proposed in this bond.
Many of our school buildings are simply past their usable life spans. The North Wasco County School District was formed after the merger of two districts back in 2004. North Wasco has worked to maintain these facilities for over a decade, and hired a private management firm to contain costs and improve educational outcomes.
Why are the buildings considered unsafe?
Our current school buildings were built decades ago, when the standards for fire suppression, handicap access and earthquake resistance were not yet a consideration. Knowing what we know now, we have a duty to make our schools safe as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the concrete construction doesn't allow for economical remodeling, so the best alternative is building new, safe schools from the ground up.