Will the Canby School District bring a new bond proposal before voters in the May 2020 primary election? It was the question the district’s board of directors faced at a special meeting Thursday night. And their answer? Maybe.
The board did not choose, definitively, to place a bond issue on the ballot for either the primary or general elections next year, but did direct Superintendent Trip Goodall and his staff to continue exploring the possibility, and to begin the community involvement part of the process.
District Communications Coordinator Autumn Foster said a Bond Development Advisory Group, composed of staff and community members, will be appointed to help the district develop the proposed package.
There is a whole menu of possible safety and technology upgrades, maintenance items and other projects that could help improve Canby schools, but only so much money that would be available without raising current tax rates. What does or doesn’t make the final cut will ultimately be up to the school board, but the recommendations from the advisory group will be critical to their decision.
Foster said the district is in the process of setting up public meetings to gather further input from the community on what they would like to see in the bond. She said the meeting dates will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.
A couple of important deadlines that are also likely to weigh heavily on the board’s decision. The end of 2020 presents a critical juncture, as the current bond (which voters passed to build Baker Prairie Middle School 15 years ago) expires at the end of the year.
In next year’s primary, or the general election, the board could propose the new bond as an extension of the current rate. After that, the bond would represent a tax increase, which the district’s consultants — and common sense — say would be a much harder sell.
There is also at least one major factor favoring the primary over the general. If the district successfully passes a new bond proposal in the May 2020 election, it would also be eligible to claim an additional $4.8 million in grant funds from the Oregon Office of School Facilities.
This funding would not be available if the board chooses to wait until November, or if the bond fails in the May primary.
Foster says the board will decide in February whether the proposed bond package aligns with the district’s goals and should be referred to voters. The deadline to file for the primary is Feb. 28.
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