Voters in three out of five school districts support capital improvements
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Oregon school districts have received significant emergency state and federal money this year to address short-term COVID-19 challenges, but schools still need their communities to fund long-term structural needs.
Voters in three out of five school districts said yes to that responsibility Tuesday, approving school bonds for new spaces, maintenance and updated safety and security. Each of the winning districts picked up some extra state support with $4 million from the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program.
Knappa, which won with more than two-thirds of the vote, was looking at its neighbors when it asked for $14 million. Nearby Astoria, Warrenton and Seaside school districts have all passed bonds within the past 5 years. Knappa wants to replace portable classrooms that are more than 40 years old and add a modern science lab and gym space.
Lake Oswego just passed a bond in 2017, but it was back for the second phase of a three-part capital construction plan. In preliminary results, voters said yes to an additional $180 million.
Jefferson County successfully made the argument that its $24 million bond wouldn’t raise the tax rate because it would kick in as a previous bond retires in 2022. The bond, passed with nearly 60% of the vote, will fund health, safety and security upgrades in all the district’s schools.
Coquille failed in its second attempt this year after losing in May, with more than 60% voting no. Coquille asked for $13.2 million this time around to add space to relieve overcrowding and upgrade its facilities. Nearby, North Bend lost its campaign for a $48.3 million bond for similar needs, with nearly 60% voting no. It has been almost 20 years since its last bond.