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Estacada school district explores bond for buildings

The Estacada School District has formed a committee to explore ways to pay for building renovations, including putting a bond measure before voters in November.

The district believes that $23.9 million is needed to make structural and safety improvements in all buildings

Approximately $17 million is needed at the high school, including structural upgrades, window and ceiling replacements, repaving the parking lot and adding drainage to the football and soccer field.

“Students at the high school deserve to be educated in a modern, safe and attractive building,” said Marla Stephenson, district superintendent.

A bond would provide the district with approximately $30 million.

The last bond measure, passed in 1999, was used to build Clackamas River Elementary School and pay for significant work at Estacada Junior High School.

Stephenson said she would recommend that the bond not raise the current tax rate. “We have to be sensitive to the needs of our citizens,” she said.

Donna Cancio, executive director of administrative services, said the district’s current bond measure will be paid off in 2025. Because of low interest rates, the district may be able to add a new bond and restructure their previous debt so that the current tax rate would stay the same until 2036.

Additionally, the district is eligible for approximately $4 million in matching money through a measure passed by the 2015 Legislature to help school districts pay for capital improvements.

Stephenson said the district would also like to improve facilities and provide additional spaces for research and collaborative learning.

Recently, the district worked with the Nelson Group of Salem to survey Estacada families about their support of a bond measure.

Families were surveyed about general support for a bond, support for a bond that would not raise the tax rate, and support for potential projects, including modernizing the high school, creating more career and technical education classes and increasing use of technology in the classroom.

Stephenson said she hopes to have the results of the survey in several weeks.

“(The survey results) will make a very big difference as we move forward as to how we develop strategies and priorities for projects,” she said.

The newly formed capital projects planning committee has been asked to develop a list of projects that will enhance the district’s facilities and make recommendations to the school board regarding funding methods.

The committee intends to have a report to the board by May.