Canby School District Exploring Possibility of Presenting New Bond Proposal to Voters in 2020

The Canby School District is exploring the possibility of presenting a new bond proposal to voters during one of the two major elections next year.

The proposal would not raise taxes, but it would extend the current rate from the previous bond that voters passed to build Baker Prairie Middle School 15 years ago. That bond is due to expire at the end of 2020.

No specific projects have yet been identified, but the district is clear about what the bond won’t include: new construction. The district recently completed a long range planning analysis, which confirms Canby won’t be needing any new school buildings to handle the growth projected in the foreseeable future.

Instead, the staff and community members who may ultimately be appointed to the proposed bond development work group would consider options such as deferred maintenance, other facilities and technology upgrades.

District Communications Coordinator Autumn Foster informed the school board at its last meeting that the district has hired a bond consultant, Wright Public Affairs. This is a Portland based research firm that will conduct a poll to collect feedback about the district’s needs and what the community would support.

The district plans to use this feedback, along with its recently completed long range facilities plan, to identify projects. These projects would be included in the bond package ultimately presented to the voters.

The first consideration is whether to pursue a new bond at all and, if so, when. The district could either target the primary election in May or the general election in November. After November 2020, the current bond rate will have expired. After this point, the district would face the much more challenging task of asking voters for a tax increase, rather than simply an extension of the current rate.

Foster told the board that the district’s consultant believes May could present the best opportunity. With a hotly contested Democratic primary on the ballot, voters who turn out may be more progressive and younger and more female votes are also projected. The consultant believes this would more likely lead to support for a school bond.

If the school board does wish to propose a ballot measure in next year’s primary, they must make their decision by Nov. 7.

In other Canby school news, the district is holding two community engagement sessions to share your input about what’s going well and what needs improvement.

An English language session will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Canby High School commons. The Monday Meeting will include light snacks. A Spanish session is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Trost Elementary School library. Dinner is provided at the Tuesday meeting. Child care will be offered at both meetings.

The input will help inform the district’s Continuous Improvement Plan, which will become the basis for their application for funds through the Student Success Act.

Photo courtesy Canby School District.

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