School district could pursue bond next spring
The Woodburn School District is revisiting its overcrowding issue, and is considering a bond measure to create more space for its growing student population.
The possibility of a bond would be in the May 2014 election at the earliest, and its aim is to replace a current bond that expires at the end of 2014, so there would be no increase in property taxes.
With a 3 percent increase in K-12 population every year and nearly 1,000 students projected to attend Heritage Elementary School in the fall the district is looking for ways to alleviate the overcrowding.
Two years ago, a group of community members and school employees gathered to form the Instructional Space Task Force, which made recommendations to the district on how to cope with the overcrowding issue.
Members from this group met with the Woodburn School Board in a work session Thursday night at Woodburn High School to look at what changes would be put in place under a potential bond.
It is important to stress that (the meeting) was an initial brainstorming session, clarified Superintendent Chuck Ransom. The first step will be to reconvene the Instructional Space Task Force with additional representation from each school site. Next, we will get some cost estimates attached to the projects recommended by the task force. Then we will be ready to set some community forum dates to get the broadest feedback possible from everybody.
He added that he hopes to arrange community forums starting in late September.
In the brainstorming session, district officials presented what it could look like if the district went out for a $66 million bond over 20.5 years. That money could cover the purchase of property and building of a new K-5 school, or it could cover existing facility expansion and renovation.
Currently, the only building that is up to code so that it could get an addition would be Valor Middle School. A proposal for such an expansion would create 12 new classrooms, a second gym, a music room and a covered play structure, totaling about $11 million.
The district owns 19 acres of property east of Woodburn, but it sits outside the Urban Growth Boundary, meaning if a school were built there it would only be allowed to house 100 students.
The properties the district currently owns within the UGB could handle expansion, especially the plot behind Heritage Elementary School and Valor, which is currently a hay field.