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School construction bond likely to supercede local option levy

Voters won’t likely see a Hillsboro School District local option levy on their November ballots, nor on their May 2017 ballots — and perhaps not at all.

School board members Tuesday night generally agreed the timeline for getting a levy on the ballot — which would pay for more teachers to reduce ballooning class sizes in the district — is too short.

Instead, it’s likely district officials will ask voters to approve a general obligation bond in November 2017 or May 2018 for construction of new schools and repair and upgrades to exisiting schools.

The district has already hired a consultant, Frank Angelo of Angelo Planning Group, to help the Long-Range Planning Committee put together a comprehensive plan for a bond.

Angelo worked with the Beaverton School District to prepare for the $680 million bond approved by voters in May of 2014.

Hillsboro has a $150 million backlog of needed facility upgrades including $41 million in seismic upgrades, $27 million in other safety upgrades and $15 million in roofing. In addition, the district anticipates growth in the coming years as residential construction in South Hillsboro begins. The district already owns 90 acres of lands in South Hillsboro for three future elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.

Chief Financial Officer Adam Stewart told the board the right time to ask voters to approve a construction bond is November 2017 or May 2018, when the district will retire current bonds that cost $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Floating a bond proposal at that time would maintain taxpayers’ bond rate rather than raise taxes, he said.

Birth control debate continues

Also at Tuesday’s work session, board members agreed on a timeline and process for making a decision on whether or not to allow the School-Based Health Center (SBHC) at Century High School to offer family plannning services to its patients, which include students and staff members.

The district’s contract with Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center to provide medical and dental services at the clinic must be renewed at the end of the school year. Virginia Garcia officials have asked the board for “clarity” on birth control services, which the clinic does not currently offer.

The board will take up to one hour of public input at its meeting on Tuesday, March 15, then plans to discuss the topic at its April 5 work session.

At that work session, board members will vote whether or not to allow birth control services at the SBHC. Their decision will be written into district policy. The board will hold a first reading of the new policy on April 26 and take action to finalize the policy on May 24.

Superintendent Mike Scott told board members he would not make a recommendation one way or the other on the topic.

A discussion at the board’s January work session revealed the board is already clearly divided on the issue.

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