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Despite poll, bond is far from a slam-dunk

The recent scientific telephone poll conducted by the Oregon Trail School District paints a rosy picture of public opinion regarding the upcoming vote for a bond to build a new Sandy High School.

The majority of residents from every geographic region of the district voiced support for the bond, which district officials say could cost taxpayers between $110 million and $125 million.

Overall, 57 percent of area voters are in favor of the bond, according to the survey.

While we're encouraged by the data - which shows a strong base of support despite the sticker shock of the estimated bond cost - we know the campaign is far from over. In fact, it has barely begun.

It's obvious that those in favor of the bond - many community leaders, parents, the political action committee Value Oregon Trail Education (VOTE) - are very organized, very vocal and very committed to seeing this effort result in the construction of a new high school.

The mystery is in the opposition, which is, as of now, unorganized and scattered throughout the district. An estimated 32 percent of voters, about one in three, said they oppose the bond. Eleven percent still are undecided or refused to answer.

While the picture looks good now for the bond, there's a lot that could happen between now and November. The economic situation is uncertain in this country. A number of competing property tax-increasing measures are beginning to pile up on the ballot, including the all-too-crucial library services district measure. Locals previously convinced about the bond could rebel if they don't like the reasons behind the hefty price tag.

With 11 percent of voters undecided and all these variables, nothing is for certain in this bond election. We're hoping that despite competing measures and short-term economic stress, locals will realize the overall, long-term necessity and benefits a new high school would provide.

The poll showed that when presented with the facts regarding the current overcrowding at the high school, support rose to 67 percent. With that in mind, the bond campaign's mission is pretty clear over the next few months: Find the opposition, wherever it may be, present the facts and have a real discussion. That's how you will change hearts, strengthen the base of supporters, weather economic uncertainty and build a new high school.