The Crook County School District will ask voters in May to approve a $66 million bond measure to pay for a variety of building maintenance projects, expand career tech courses and enhance outdoor facilities for families.
Additionally, the school district has qualified for a $914,414 matching grant from the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) Program. The grant would only be received if the measure passes.
Board members unanimously approved the bond request this week.
The bond will focus on general maintenance to replace roofs, boilers, and make much-needed safety improvements to some of the district’s oldest schools.
Part of the bond would also be used to offer more Career & Technical Education, performing arts, upgrade Ward Rhoden Stadium, and enhance outdoor facilities for students, families, and community members.
If the proposed measure is approved, taxpayers in the district would pay about 10 cents more per thousand of assessed value, which is different from real market value.
For example, if a house is assessed at $200,000, the homeowner would pay about $20 per year, according to the district.
“Our district and community volunteers have worked hard to craft a bond package aimed at addressing the needs of our aging schools while being fiscally responsible to our voters. This bond will benefit current and future students by enhancing safety and security while providing greater opportunities for hands-on learning and job training, which will benefit the community as a whole,” said school board member Doug Smith. “I am excited that we are bringing forward this comprehensive bond measure to Crook County voters.”
The district’s Long Range Facilities Planning Committee, a local group of 35 participants made up of parents, business owners, farmers, students, and educators, reviewed the district’s facilities needs based on building condition, educational adequacy, and capacity needs.
The projects included in the bond and the $66 million cost were approved by the committee and recommended to the school board.
Scott Cooper, chair of the school board, said there are very few “shiny objects” in this bond measure as the focus is taking care of existing buildings and ensuring students and staff have adequate school facilities to learn and grow.
“The timing on this bond is just extraordinary. We have a unique opportunity to spread the cost over new property coming on to the tax rolls. We have state grants available to extend the bond’s impact. We have a solid administrative team in place to oversee construction. Crook County has the lowest tax rates dedicated to construction of any school district in Central Oregon, and even with this bond, we will still be the lowest,” explained board chair Scott Cooper. “We have patched and retrofitted schools for almost 100 years. Sometimes the boilers, floors, and roofs need to be replaced. Now is the time to do this. Our kids and community deserve quality facilities and a quality education.”
The school board and district leadership will schedule a number of community events, open houses, and listening sessions to give students, families, and the community a chance to review the proposed bond and ask questions.