Well-maintained school buildings linked to student achievement
Many of you know that the Woodburn School District will ask voters to decide upon a school bond on the May 20 primary election ballot. Ballots will be mailed May 6, and in anticipation of that date, the school district is working hard to make sure the community has information about what is being proposed.
Well-maintained school buildings that are safe and have adequate classroom space have been shown to contribute to student achievement. While the state provides revenue for student instruction, voter-approved bonds are the primary source of funding a school district has for major repairs, renovations and safety improvements for its schools.
The bond would continue funding for major repairs and renovations to help our school buildings last longer. Repairs and renovations reduce the need for new school buildings, which can cost more. Some of our schools require new roofs to stop leaks. Others have windows and heating systems that are more than 20 years old, are no longer energy efficient and cost more to operate because of their age. The bond would pay for these types of major repairs and renovate buildings to provide additional classroom space. In the last 10 years, the student population in Woodburn schools has grown by almost 30 percent, but no new classrooms have been added.
The bond also would fund safety improvements in our schools. The national trend of school shootings has identified areas where Woodburn schools require safety improvements. The bond would update security systems and technology to make our schools safer, including building entrances, classroom locks and emergency reporting systems.
This bond is unique in that it would continue funding for schools at a lower estimated property tax rate. The current school bond that was approved by voters 20 years ago is expiring. The new bond would reduce the estimated property tax rate for schools from $2.47 to $2.40 per $1,000 of assessed value. This means the owner of a $100,000 home would pay approximately $240 per year ($20 per month) if the bond is approved by voters on the May Primary Election ballot.
The school district will send more information about the bond closer to the election. In the meantime, I encourage you to visit our website at www.woodburnsd.org and click on Bond Information to learn more. There is a general map and key of what is being proposed, as well as projects specific to each school.
We also invite you to a public meeting about the bond at French Prairie Middle School Library (1025 N. Boones Ferry Road) on Monday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. This is a good forum to ask questions and learn more about what is being proposed for our schools.