Voters continued the 2019 theme of investing in education, with seven of eight bonds and local option levies passing Tuesday.
Education leaders had worried about voters’ willingness to approve taxes in the same year that the State School Fund reached current service levels and the Legislature approved the Student Success Act, a $1 billion-a-year investment in preK-12 public education.
Voters overwhelmingly opted for school support.
The West Linn-Wilsonville School District passed a bond and a local option levy, with both winning more than 60% of votes. The $206.8 million bond proposal included a new elementary school and relocating a middle school and high school as well as districtwide security upgrades. The local option levy will fund about 80 teachers.
Portland Public Schools and the Falls City School District between Salem and Lincoln City also passed local option levies. Portland’s levy, approved by more than three-quarters of voters, will pay for more than 800 teaching positions. Falls City will use the money approved by 61% of voters for extracurricular and enrichment programs.
Four other districts asked for bond support.
Nearly three-quarters of voters approved a $3.5 million bond for the Condon School District in north-central Oregon. The state will provide a matching $3.5 million so the district can consolidate its schools on one campus.
Hermiston School District, which is west of Pendleton, narrowly passed a $82.7 million bond to replace one elementary school and build another as well as expand the high school. Hermiston will pick up $6.5 million in state matching money.
Two-thirds of voters in the Union School District, east of La Grande, approved a $4 million bond with a $4 million state matching grant to improve its facilities.
The Grants Pass School District bond, in its third attempt since 2010, lost heavily, with more than two-thirds voting no. Most of the $95.6 million was aimed at building a new middle school. It would have come with $6.4 million in state matching funds.