Bond restructuring will save taxpayers more than $800,000

The West Linn-Wilsonville School Board held its monthly meeting Monday to discuss an array of topics and hear reports from Superintendent Bill Rhoades, Business Office Manager Doug Middlestetter and Director of Operations Tim Woodley.

Included among the points of discussion were:

n Long Range Planning Committee member appointment: West Linn resident Gretchen Katko was named as the newest member of the committee by a 3-2 vote. Katko, a mother with children attending Trillium Creek and Bolton primary schools, has also served on the West Linn-Wilsonville Budget Committee for the past five years.

As a certified public accountant consultant, Katko listed one of her professional specialties as educational nonprofit accounting. In winning a place on the committee, Katko edged out retired University of Oregon professor and former politician Carl Hosticka and Wilsonville resident Ray Lister. She will replace John Ludlow, who resigned from the committee after being elected as Clackamas County Commission chairman in last November.

n Restructuring of 2004 general obligation bond: The board also agreed unanimously to restructure this bond, as suggested by Middlestetter. The process is expected to save taxpayers — not the district — more than $800,000 dollars while replacing tax exempt bonds with taxable bonds. Though the board approved the action on Monday, the actual refinancing will not take place until July.

“It’s not every day we get to vote on a resolution that saves taxpayers $800,000,” board Chairman Keith Steele said. “This is a day worth celebrating.”

Board Vice Chair Dale Hoogestraat inquired on the possibility of refinancing other bonds, such as the 2008 capital construction bond, but Middlestetter said it was not a viable option at this time.

n Another honor for Trillium Creek Primary School: It was announced Monday that the school, and by extension Lowrie Primary School, earned the Shirley Cooper Award from the Committee on Architecture for Education. This particular award is given to a project that “best meets the educational needs of its students.” Trillium Creek and Lowrie share nearly identical architectural designs, and were also awarded the National School Board Association’s grand prize in architectural design back in March.

n District application for urban growth boundary amendment: Back in March the school district officially submitted an application to amend the UGB to include a 40-acre piece of land on Advance Road in Wilsonville that is currently owned by the school district. Current plans from the Long Range Planning Committee call for the construction of both a primary and middle school on the property, should Oregon Metro vote to expand the UGB. A public hearing is set for June 8, and Metro will likely weigh in shortly thereafter, according to Woodley.

n State science awards: Monday’s board meeting also touched on this past weekend’s state science fair award winners. West Linn-Wilsonville students dominated the category of plant sciences, taking first, second and third place. A number of district students also earned scholarships with their projects, including Wilsonville High School’s Teresa Condon (OSU College of Engineering Scholarship), Wilsonville High School’s Kenia Fuentes and Katya Campos (OSU General Scholarship) and West Linn High School’s Dylan Martins (University of Oregon Scholarship).

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