For maintenance, safety improvements, Ward Rhoden Stadium upgrade and more
PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Crook County School Board voted unanimously this week to place a $66 million school bond measure before voters at the May election, largely for general maintenance to replace roofs, boilers, and make much-needed safety improvements to some of the district’s oldest schools.
Part of the bond also would be used to offer more Career & Technical Education, performing arts, upgrade Ward Rhoden Stadium, and enhance outdoor facilities for students, families and community members, the school district said in a news release Wednesday.
"The bond measure was carefully crafted to be fiscally responsible while ensuring Crook County schools are healthy and safe for generations of students to come," the district said.
If the proposed measure is approved, taxpayers in the district would pay about 10 cents more per $1,000 of assessed property value, which is different from real market value. For example, if a house is assessed at $200,000, the homeowner would pay about $20 more per year.
Along with the $66 million total price tag of the bond measure, the school district has qualified for a $914,414 matching grant from the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) Program. The grant would only be received if the measure passes.
“Our district and community volunteers have worked hard to craft a bond package aimed at addressing the needs of our aging schools while being fiscally responsible to our voters. This bond will benefit current and future students by enhancing safety and security while providing greater opportunities for hands-on learning and job training, which will benefit the community as a whole,” shared school board member Doug Smith. “I am excited that we are bringing forward this comprehensive bond measure to Crook County voters.”
The district’s Long Range Facilities Planning Committee, a local group of 35 participants made up of parents, business owners, farmers, students, and educators, reviewed the district’s facilities needs based on building condition, educational adequacy, and capacity needs. The projects included in the bond and the $66 million cost were approved by the committee and recommended to the school board.
Scott Cooper, chair of the school board, said there are very few “shiny objects” in this bond measure, as the focus is taking care of existing buildings and ensuring students and staff have adequate school facilities to learn and grow.
“The timing on this bond is just extraordinary. We have a unique opportunity to spread the cost over new property coming on to the tax rolls. We have state grants available to extend the bond's impact. We have a solid administrative team in place to oversee construction. Crook County has the lowest tax rates dedicated to construction of any school district in Central Oregon, and even with this bond, we will still be the lowest,” Cooper said.
“We have patched and retrofitted schools for almost 100 years. Sometimes the boilers, floors, and roofs need to be replaced. Now is the time to do this. Our kids and community deserve quality facilities and a quality education."
The school board and district leadership will schedule a number of community events, open houses and listening sessions to give students, families and the community a chance to review the proposed bond and ask questions.
The school district would like to thank the following community members for volunteering their time on the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee and developing the recommendations for the bond:
- Kim Daniels, Parent & Prineville Chamber Director
- Wayne Looney, Retired Educator & Kiwanis Club
- Susan Crawford, Parent & Werner Crawford Accounting
- Tim Carter, Tim Carter Concrete
- Steve Uffelman, Prineville City Council
- Renee Tooley, Parent & Olive & Blu Photography
- Gail Merritt, Grandparent & Prineville City Council
- Duane Yecha, Retired Superintendent
- Vicki Ryan, Crook County Health Department
- Adam Barney, Parent & Local Rancher/Farmer
- Jerry Brummer, Crook County Commissioner
- Steve Forrester, City of Prineville
- Scott Smith, City of Prineville
- Eric Klann, City of Prineville
- Sarah Klann, Parent & Teacher
- Natalie Eberhard, Teacher
- Don Hammond, CCHS Custodian
- Dave Fields, Ochoco National Forest
- Jeff Coffman, School Resource Officer
- Doug Smith, School Board Member
- Gwen Carr, Parent & School Board Member
- Steve Holliday, Parent
- Mark Flegel, Farmer
- Kelsey Lucas, Prineville Economic Development
- Daniel Olsen, Student
- Alex Molina, Student