Bonds, Ballots and Buildings Conference

April 8, 2022

Salem - Salem Convention Center and The Grand Hotel - 200 Commercial St SE, Salem OR 97301 - 877-540-7800

Is a bond measure or local option levy in your future? Then don’t miss OSBA’s Bonds, Ballots and Buildings Conference, held once every two years in Salem. This event has a long history of providing resources to help school districts and community colleges plan facilities, define and communicate bond costs to voters, and learn tactics for effective bond campaigns. OSBA is bringing experts in construction and facility planning, finance, surveys and communications together to provide workshops and resources in a one-day conference. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2022 conference. Presentation slides are on the Materials tab. 

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8:15-9:30 a.m. – GENERAL SESSION

Learn From the Winners Panel

Mark Witty, superintendent, Baker SD
Although the Baker School District’s bond failed in November 2018, their team learned invaluable lessons. They changed their approach, focusing on listening to community members and what they would likely support. Through hard work and building trust, Baker was able to pass a bond in May 2021, the first Baker capital projects bond since 1948. The district has now turned its focus to providing the best value for the community from the bond proceeds while being transparent throughout the construction process.

Charan Cline, superintendent, Redmond SD
The Redmond School District passed a $27.5 million school bond measure in November 2020, just a year after a $70 million bond measure failed. With the bond’s passage, the district also qualified for a $7.6 million state grant. In 2024, the district will pay off the remaining debt from general obligation bonds issued in 2008. The resulting tax-rate reduction will allow Redmond schools to ask voters in November 2024 to approve a second bond measure that would not increase the tax rate. The district is focused on providing good value from the bond proceeds. It will use the first bond to repair and remodel current buildings and add 12 elementary school classrooms. The next bond would replace one school entirely and make substantial changes to several others.

9:45-11:00 a.m. – WORKSHOPS

Fundamentals of issuing bonds
A basic understanding of how general obligation bonds work is important as you go through this process and communicate with stakeholders. Whether it’s your first or fifth time issuing bonds, it always seems like there is more to know! Come to this session to learn the essentials so it doesn’t feel quite so overwhelming.
Lauren MacMillan, managing director, Piper Sandler
Carol McCoog, partner, Hawkins Delafield & Wood
Jay Mathisen, superintendent, Jefferson County School District

Laying the foundation for a successful construction project
Whether you are new to school construction or have many projects under your belt, this workshop will provide a practical procurement process roadmap for after your bond has passed. We will cover aspects of Oregon construction procurement, including alternative procurements and tips on structuring for success. We will discuss construction contracting and approaches for hiring consultants, design professionals and contractors.
Rob Wilkinson, partner, Ball Janik LLP
Chris Walters, partner, Ball Janik LLP
Cassie Hibbert, project manager, Wenaha Group

Engaging your community in the school design process
The Corvallis School District is in the middle of a $200 million school construction program that has allowed the district to replace two schools and significantly improve 10 others. Come learn how Corvallis engaged the community in school design, with an emphasis on reaching racially and linguistically diverse community members. Participants will leave with a tool that can be used to create more inclusive spaces for all to share their ideas and perspectives, leading to greater improvement.
Ryan Noss, superintendent, Corvallis SD
Kim Patten, director of facilities and transportation, Corvallis SD
Dale Kuykendall, senior project manager, Wenaha Group

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. – LUNCH

Q&A with the Oregon Elections Division
What are school officials and school board members allowed to say and do for political campaigns? Bring your questions and hear straight from the Secretary of State’s Office about do’s and don’ts. Learn about political activity restrictions on public employees and hear an overview of the process for referrals to the ballot.
Bob Roberts, investigations and legal specialist, Secretary of State’s Elections Division
Summer Davis, senior elections policy advisor, Secretary of State’s Elections Division


12:45-2:00 p.m. – WORKSHOPS

Legacy decision-making to improve student success through optimal CTE facilities
Career and technical education encourages student success, resulting in higher attendance and graduation rates as well as increased employment opportunities with higher annual earnings. CTE program support spaces are specialized learning environments and need to be adaptable to meet relevant, changing industries. Providing optimal facilities for your district’s CTE programs can be a legacy board decision. We will walk you through creating a process to ensure first-class facilities.
Rick Yeo, partner, R&C Management Group LLC
David McKay, owner/principal, HMK Company
Karen Montovino, architect/principal, DLR Group

Bonds are Switzerland: Passing a bond in polarized times
Bond campaigns are neither red nor blue. Unfortunately, in these highly polarized times they can easily get dragged into partisan politics, which greatly reduces your chances. Join us as we look at the electoral landscape for 2022, examine case studies and explore best practices to keep bond campaigns out of the partisan muck and on track.
Jeremy Wright, president, Wright Public Affairs

The secret to a successful bond issue is ... TIMING!
This session will cover timing your district’s ballot measure and the issuance of bonds. We will present the historical success rates of bond measures by election year and month as well as the practical and financial implications of these decisions. We will explain how the various grant programs from the Office of School Facilities can influence bond measure and issuance schedules. We will also discuss a recommended bond planning schedule and how the timing of the bond can affect construction schedules.
Matt Donahue, managing director, D.A. Davidson & Co.
Michael Elliott, school facilities program manager, Oregon Department of Education
Scott Rogers, Athena-Weston School Board chair and OSBA Board president; senior project manager, Wenaha Group

2:15-3:30 p.m. – WORKSHOPS

Delivering on the promise: Your pre- and post-bond constructability action guide
Passing a bond is enough of a challenge, but delivering the promise to taxpayers can be a daunting task. School districts have been tested to complete construction projects within initially projected budgets. Participants will leave this workshop with an actionable list of best practices for planning, decision-making and execution to navigate challenging market conditions.
Stephen Wasserberger, senior project manager, Otak CPM
Joel Smallwood, director of facilities, Salem-Keizer SD
Parker Verhaeghe, senior project manager, P&C Construction
Marlene Gillis, president, Soderstrom Architects

Winning campaigns during unpredictable times
By adapting their campaign to address COVID-19’s unique challenges, Lane Community College successfully passed a $121.5 million bond in May 2021. Learn how they pivoted mid-campaign to address unforeseen challenges as well as using new tactics to increase community awareness and voter outreach.
Brett Rowlett, executive director of external affairs, Lane Community College
Rosie Pryor, board member, Lane Community College Board of Education
Anne Marie Levis, president and creative director, Funk/Levis




 D.A. Davidson logo  DLR
  Hawkins  Piper Sandler 


Wenaha                  HMK 




OSBA Bond Election Resources

  • Oregon School Bond Manual
    The Oregon School Bond Manual contains all the details you need to understand the long- and short-term borrowing options for school districts, education service districts and community colleges.
  • Oregon School Construction Contract Manual 
    This construction contract manual helps school districts, education service districts, charter schools and community colleges understand the procurement process and contract negotiations information for design professional and construction services.

Election Material from the Oregon Secretary of State

Election-related publications are available free on the Oregon Secretary of State’s website:

Click on “Voting & Elections,” then “Manuals, Forms, Tutorials and Election Laws," then "Manuals & Quick Guides." These manuals will be especially helpful:

  • Campaign Finance Manual 
    The Campaign Finance Manual includes information about Oregon campaign finance law. It is intended to provide committees and persons required to file independent expenditures with information about the requirements of campaign finance reporting.

Other Resources

  • Cross-Tabulated Voter Counts 
    L2 provides various election data, products and services, including Cross-Tabulated Voter Counts. Email for more information.
    This is an image of L2 logo 93x120

Workshop Presentations

Learn From the Winners Panel/Q&A

Fundamentals of issuing bonds

Laying the foundation for a successful construction project

Engaging your community in the school design process

Q&A with the Oregon Elections Division

Legacy decision-making to improve student success through optimal CTE facilities

Bonds are Switzerland: Passing a bond in polarized times

The secret to a successful bond issue is ... TIMING!

Delivering on the promise: Your pre- and post-bond constructability action guide

Winning campaigns during unpredictable times


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