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District saves Gladstone taxpayers $1.6M

Gladstone taxpayers got a break of $1.6 million last week after their local school district refinanced a 2006 bond for facilities.

On Wednesday, Dec. 12, Gladstone School Board members voted 6-0 to lock into low interest rates for the next 15 years. Property taxpayers will see an annual reduction of 21 cents on every $100,000 of assessed value they own over the remaining 15-year life of the bond.

“The board was ecstatic to save the taxpayers some money,” said Superintendent Bob Stewart.

Although taxpayers won’t pay as much as originally thought, the school district’s budget woes remain the same, contingent on the state budget that would hurt every other district in Oregon as well. During the past four years, there has been a 15 percent reduction in staff time in Gladstone, and the governor’s latest projection would force another 4 percent reduction.

With fewer teachers, Gladstone has seen more students per classroom and fewer classroom hours. Unlike local districts with recent school closures in Oregon City and North Clackamas, Gladstone’s small size and steady enrollment prohibits closure as a budget-cutting option.

Under the governor’s current estimate, Stewart is preparing the district for a $700,000 reduction that would need to be made to balance the budget. But Stewart will join a chorus of voices in Salem to advocate that schools are funded more adequately in the coming year.

“My hope is that this 4 percent number is not where we will end up, and that the governor and legislators will see that this is untenable,” he said.



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