COVID-19 may have paused much of the school building usage this year, but old and cramped facilities around the state still need to be updated, enlarged and replaced.
Nine school districts asked for money to improve students’ educational environments with bonds. Voters in five districts said yes: Baker, Sisters, Clatskanie, Wallowa and Ione.
Of the nine bonds on ballots, seven qualified for matching grants of $4 million and Three Rivers qualified for $5 million. Only Sisters, which received a $4 million matching grant in 2016, did not qualify for the match this time.
The extra money may have helped the Baker School District pass its bond.
Baker passed a $4 million bond that came with a $4 million state matching grant. The district was trying a smaller amount after failing with a $48 million bond in November 2018. Baker had not passed a bond since 1948.
“This has been a long time coming,” said Kevin Cassidy, a member of the Baker School Board and OSBA’s past president. “I’m really happy that the community supported this. It’s a step in the right direction for sure, and now we need to deliver.”
Last year, the school board deferred the district’s eligibility for the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program and told voters, who were still reeling from the Holiday Farm fire, to say no to the bond. The $4 million in state matching funds wasn’t enough, though, to encourage a yes from voters on a $15.2 million bond.