After coming 37 votes shy of being awarded a $65 million bond in the May 2014 election, the Woodburn School Board has opted to draw out the campaigning and wait until next spring to put the issue back on the ballot.

Justifiably, the board recognizes that a lot of money and energy would have to go into a larger election like that in November, and they don’t want to wear down their volunteers. Additionally, some polarizing issues that could be the only reason some people even go to the polls might overshadow the issues facing the Woodburn?School?District, resulting in a “no” vote because they aren’t educated on the subject.

But beyond those reasons, we at the Independent are afraid that this decision could cost the district in the long run.

How can you publicize that the schools are suffering from severe overcrowding, that the threat to students’ safety is greater every day, and yet drop the sense of urgency by tabling the issue that would help solve these problems? What message does that send to voters??That it’s not as urgent as you said it was back in the spring?

Historically, it takes a few tries before a bond measure is approved by Woodburn voters. The 37-vote gap was a victory for the district in many ways because it was as if the district made further strides in its message. So why, when there’s only a limited time to replace the existing bond (it expires the end of 2015) take away any chances of getting it approved by voters? And why hold back on the momentum from the past spring when it’s obvious the district was incredibly close to getting the bond approved?

Perhaps the most troubling part of this decision is the way that the board seems to be trying to play the odds. What does the district really gain from bypassing a higher voter-turnout election? We think a higher voter-turnout would present just as much of a likelihood for the bond to be approved, if not more so.

Sure, it means more work, but shouldn’t as many people as possible be informed about issues that affect them directly??By waiting until May, when the voter turnout will be significantly lower, it’s almost as if the district is saying, “We’re taking the easy route” and “We want as few people to be informed as possible.”

Again, we understand the reasons behind this decision. But this is about helping the students, and tabling the bond doesn’t put their interests first.

Contract Publishing

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