Board wants facilities committee to rethink bond in light of phone survey

The Scappoose School Board on Monday was presented with the results of a 367-person phone survey intended to gauge community favor with a $33.3 million school bond.

The survey, conducted by The Nelson Report out of Portland, offered encouraging results.

After weighing a variety of questions - ranging from probabilities for ballfields on the existing Otto H.H. Petersen Elementary School site to connectivity between the bond and the closure of Sauvie Island Elementary School - 55 percent of the respondents said they favor the bond.

'I wouldn't say that it's a slam dunk, but I would say you have some very strong arguments for people to favor the measure,' said Melissa Martin, who presented the survey for The Nelson Group to the board.

Following the presentation the board said it wanted its long-range facilities committee to take the survey results and rework the bond to more closely align with community priorities.

Bond nuances are expected to be ironed out by April.

'You definitely want to start that informational and marketing campaign before the end of the school year,' said

The survey, conducted at a cost of $11,000, was surprising on a couple of fronts. For one, most respondents - 52 percent - said they would still favor the bond even if the district had no immediate plans to close the Sauvie Island Elementary School.

That information refutes a longstanding perception that the island school is viewed as a financial burden by most Scappoose residents.

Paul Peterson, the superintendent for the district, says long-range discussions about Sauvie Island School are still likely to occur, pointing out that a conservative estimate shows a likely $4.1 million savings over 30 years.

The survey also showed that respondents desire an auditorium that ranks similar to the Olmscheid Auditorium in St. Helens, a venue open to community and school functions.

'It will be a real gathering point for the community,' Peterson said.

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