School District Estimates $35 Million for ‘Most Critical’ Facility Safety, Maintenance Projects

The Canby School District is currently in the process of developing a bond package of approximately $75 million or less, which may be presented to voters in the May or November elections later this year.

The district could generate up to $75 million in bond funds without raising tax rates. Instead, the idea would be to extend the current rate, which was related to the construction of Baker Prairie Middle School 15 years ago and is set to expire at the end of 2020.

Polling of likely voters last year helped establish the direction of the bond: It will be aimed at needed facilities updates and deferred maintenance projects, safety improvements and educational and vocational upgrades such as expanded science labs and modern technology.

The district has recruited a bond development group consisting of two dozen business owners, community members, district staff and administrators. Their task is to recommend the package that will ultimately be presented to the school board and as such, they will play a critical role in shaping the district’s future for the next 20 years.

The group has been asked to focus their work on educational and programmatic facility projects, while district staff have been working with cost estimators on the maintenance and safety needs.

Communications Coordinator Autumn Foster told the school board at their last meeting that a list of the “most critical” safety and maintenance needs has been compiled — out of some-500 possible projects.

With $35 million accounted for, that would leave approximately $40 million for the bond development group to work with. Their first meeting was Dec. 4, and according to, they spent a lot of that time discussing what might be needed to help prepare Canby students for “a future that looks very different than what it looks like now.”

At the second meeting, Dec. 18, the group delved deeper into the “guiding principles” for the project that they had developed: engaging students through hands-on activities, experiences and resources for social and emotional skills, collaborative problem solving, career and technical education (CTE), life skills and “being able to use space in a flexible manner.”

The work group will take a tour of district facilities on Jan. 7, followed by their third meeting two days later.

There will also be two community meetings, the first of which is on Jan. 14. All of the meetings are open to the public, to attend and comment, but the community meetings are more deliberately designed to solicit input, answer questions and hear concerns and feedback from district voters and stakeholders.

The board is scheduled to vote on the matter at a special session on Feb. 11. If they decide to move forward, it will initiate two more weeks of public comment and polling.

The deadline to place a measure on the ballot for the May primary is Feb. 28.

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