I wanted to take this opportunity to update you about the progress we are making to rebuild our high school. Considering the upcoming bond measure in May, I understandably have been receiving questions about how those funds will be used.

First let me briefly explain how our schools are funded. We receive a certain amount from the state each year for operations, such as teacher salaries and benefits, books and other items necessary for classroom instruction.

Bond funds are different. We rely on this voter-approved funding for physical plant needs. In our case, the bond will improve security measures at our schools, repair and maintain facilities, and add classroom space to relieve overcrowding. The bond election in May is a renewal of our last bond that voters approved 20 years ago, which is retiring.

With regard to the high school, I want to assure you that the Woodburn School District and its taxpayers have been fully reimbursed by our insurance company for what we have spent so far. It hasn’t been easy dealing with the insurance companies, very frustrating at times, frankly. But with dogged determination, we are making sure that our taxpayers are made whole through this process.

Second, no money from the new bond we are asking voters to approve in May will go to rebuilding the high school. In other words, restoring the high school to its original condition will be paid for by our insurance company in two phases as described below. Or, as I like to put it, you will not be paying twice for the same school. I understand that this is an important point to communicate and I hope you will take it to heart.

The high school will be restored in two phases. Phase 1 will be for flooring repairs, wall coverings, painting and new duct work that was damaged from smoke and water. We will provide contractors with drawings for this phase at the beginning of March, and close bids six weeks later. The contractor that is selected will have all materials staged so construction can begin as soon as school ends. Work must be completed by the time students return to school in September.

Phase 2 will be to rebuild areas damaged from the fire and water. Architects have completed estimate drawings for Phase 2, and those documents are in the hands of our insurance adjuster. The insurance company also has an adjuster, and the two parties will meet to agree on a cost to restore the building to its original form. From there, another public bid process will take place and then construction can begin.

Large-scale construction projects like these take time, but we want you to know we are making progress.

I also hope this clears up any confusion about what bond funds will be used for if approved by voters this spring. If you have any questions about the high school, upcoming bond measure or any topic, please feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-981-2727.

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