Why do we need a bond?
In order to continue to be good stewards of our facilities, keep our students and staff safe, and give our students a quality education that prepares them to be successful members of our community, there are issues we must address. And our district is growing. Many of our schools are overcrowded now and projections show we will be adding students in the next two decades. Salem-Keizer School District hasn’t had a capital bond in 10 years.
Components of the Bond Proposal
- Construct new vocational/technical classrooms
- Make seismic upgrades
- Construct additional space at elementary schools
- Make safety and security improvements districtwide
- Expand and construct additional space at all six of the district’s traditional high schools
- Construct additional space such as classrooms
- New science labs
- Extend the life of existing facilities
- Replace the district’s worn-out portable buildings
Cost to homeowners: This proposal would increase existing property tax rates by an average of $1.24 per thousand dollars of assessed value per year for the life of the bond.
1. Long Range Facilities Plan
In 2015, the district began the process to update the Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP). The LRFP outlines the facility improvements needed to support projected enrollment growth and to provide the right kinds of spaces to support educational programs. For example, science and Career-Technical/Vocational Education programs require special types of spaces and equipment. The total estimated cost of all work listed in the plan is $766 million. Read about the development of the LRFP:
- Draft Long Range Facilities Plan in development (October 20, 2016)
- Citizens Facilities Task Force holds first meeting (December 7, 2016)
- School Board hears report on school and district facility needs (March 14, 2017)
2. Citizens Facilities Task Force
The School Board instructed Superintendent Perry to form a Citizens Facilities Task Force to review the Draft Long Range Facilities Plan. The 18-member Task Force met over several months and reviewed every page of the Plan. The Task Force’s work resulted in a report to the School Board that recommended the Board pursue a general obligation bond to fund the work. Visit the Citizens Facilities Task Force page for full details
3. Bond Feasibility Study/Community Poll
The School Board accepted the Citizens Facilities Task Force report and instructed district staff to perform a bond feasibility study. The study was conducted in a phone survey of Salem and Keizer residents. The intent of the survey was to determine the community’s priorities for district facilities and willingness to support the work through property taxes. The results of the poll showed that the community is supportive of addressing the facility needs of the school district, but has concerns about the cost. In the survey, the community indicated support for a tax increase between $1.51 to $2.50 per thousand of assessed property value to pay for the work.
Read about the Bond Feasibility Study:
- School Board orders bond feasibility study (April 12, 2017)
- Survey results show support for bond, but concerns about cost (May 25, 2017)
4. Revised Bond Package
The School Board responded to the community’s feedback by asking district staff to reduce the size of the bond package. Staff revised and recalculated the list and presented a smaller package to the School Board at the end of May 2017. The revised package is about 19 percent less than the original package and totals around $620 million. A $620 million bond is estimated to increase the property tax levy rate between $1.28 and $1.39 per thousand of assessed property value. This revised package forms the basis for the School Board’s continued work to finalize the bond measure. The School Board voted to place a bond measure on the May 2018 ballot and continues to work on finalizing the bond package.
Read about the School Board’s progress on the bond package:
- School Board hears smaller bond package (May 31, 2017)
- School Board proposes general obligation bond for May 2018 ballot (June 19, 2017)
5. Bond Measure Listening & Learning Forums
Parents, staff and members of the community were invited to attend one or more of six Listening & Learning Forums about the bond. Meetings were held at each traditional high school. Attendees heard a presentation about the bond and then met with school principals and Facilities & Planning Department staff to view concept maps, talk about projects planned for each school and ask quesitons. Feedback was collected at the Forums and was compiled into a report for the School Board.
6. Next Steps
The School Board will review the feedback received from the Listening & Learning Forums and from presentations made to parent groups. The Board is scheduled to hear a first reading of the bond package proposal at the December meeting and is on track to finalize the bond package in January of 2018.