Voters in the Redmond School District will see a $27.5 million bond measure on the November ballot, but in a unique – and likely welcome – twist, it won’t cost taxpayers anything more to say yes.
If passed, the bond would add six new classrooms at both Vern Patrick Elementary and Tom McCall Elementary while addressing critical health, safety and security upgrades in all of the district’s schools.
“Adding capacity in our school buildings is about matching the growth of our community,” Charan Cline, superintendent for Redmond Public Schools, said. “We have housing developments that are happening in these areas, and these will allow students to go to home schools without having to bus them around the community as much.”
In addition, the package aims to make energy efficiency updates, modernize existing buildings with technology and infrastructure improvements.
“We have a lot of systems in our schools that are aging out, that need repair,” Cline said. “Heating systems, roofs, that sort of thing. We have an incredible need for maintenance work.”
The district will be able to refinance previously issued bonds and projects there will be some growth on the taxable assessed values of homes district-wide, so the bond won’t increase the current tax rate.
Additionally, the district has qualified for a $7.6 million matching grant from the state, but it only kicks in if the bond passes.
“The board and the district respect the financial concerns of our community,” shared Tim Carpenter, Redmond School District Board Chair. “With thoughtful planning and actions this measure will not add taxes to our community. We believe this bond will protect our students and staff and preserve the life of our facilities while being good stewards of community resources.”
The board’s decision on Wednesday comes two years after the district’s narrow loss of a $70 million bond measure in 2018.
After months of discussion and continued work from the district’s Community Bond Task Force, the district pursued polling the community in July which revealed 56% of the community are in favor of a bond.
In 2024, the district will pay off remaining outstanding debt from general obligation bonds issued in 2008.
The resulting reduction in the tax rate will allow Redmond School District to pursue their vision for the replacement of M.A. Lynch Elementary by asking voters in November 2024 to approve a second bond measure which would not increase the tax rate.
“By refinancing our bond debt and careful planning, we are able to provide much-needed repairs to our schools for years to come without increasing the burden on taxpayers,” said Pat Tellinghusen, a member of the district’s community bond task force. “This is a boost our students and teachers need when the pandemic makes education so difficult.”