Sherwood school bond to address district growth
- Ray Pitz
- The Times - News
The measure would cost taxpayers an estimated $1.97 per $1,000 of assesed property value
SHERWOOD - Sherwood voters will be asked to approve a $98 million bond measure in November to help build two new schools and expand Sherwood High School.
On July 12, the Sherwood School Board gave the go-ahead to present voters with a measure that would allow the district to build and equip a new elementary and middle school as well as expand Sherwood High School in order to accommodate up to 1,600 additional students. The measure would not provide enough funds to upgrade the athletic stadium or build a new performing arts center.
The measure would cost taxpayers an estimated $1.97 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
Money from the measure also would be used to purchase land for a new elementary and middle school, along with funding for maintenance, parking safety and field improvement needs.
Last winter, the district surveyed the attitudes of voters regarding a proposed bond, finding that 60 percent of voters would support an $89 million measure. However, rising construction costs sent the district to again survey voters on how much they would be willing to spend on new school construction and improvements.
In a June survey, voters were asked about support of $98 million and $103 million bond measures. That survey, conducted by Moore Information, showed 61 percent were 'definitely for' or 'probably for' a $103 million measure. When asked what they thought about a $98 million bond, 18 percent of those who were against a $103 million measure said they would 'definitely' or 'probably' support the lower amount with the caveat that such money wouldn't be used to upgrade the high school athletic stadium or purchase additional land for future schools.
Superintendent Dan Jamison said the recent survey showed only 25 percent of voters listed covered bleachers at the high school as a high priority.
'In essence, the board has been advised that should not be included in the bond,' said Jamison.
The superintendent said the most 'sacred' issue at the moment is expanding core space and facilities at the district's schools, which are overcrowded. However, he promised that a task force would address the stadium issue and look at possible revenue sources.
Jeanne Magmer of C and M Associates, the consulting firm hired by the district, said the survey found a 'price sensitivity' with the district's most frequent voters: They became more reluctant when the bond's price tag exceeded $2 per $1,000. The $103 million bond measure was estimated at $2.07 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
'You have to be price sensitive when you make your decision,' Magmer stressed.
The board briefly discussed the possibility of a higher assessed value in order to allow future boards to go out for another bond sooner if needed.
Although board member Kevin Noreen said he would like to purchase needed land for future schools, the most recent survey didn't find support for such a proposal.
'You can't gamble at this point,' he said.
Also off the list for this bond measure is construction of a performing arts center at the high school.
The board unanimously approved the $98 million bond request.
Board member Connie Hansen said she felt the district had been diligent in having a sound process and taking its time before making a decision on the bond amount and needs of the district.
'It's been a year, a long process of coming to this,' she said. 'We have some work to do.'