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Redmond schools send $27.5 million ‘no rate hike’ bond measure to Nov. ballot

Savings from earlier bond refinancing, values growth make it possible

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Redmond School Board voted unanimously this week to place a $27.5 million bond measure on the ballot this November that the district says won't raise its property tax rate but will fund needed school upgrades and technology.

Officials said Friday the bond measure approved on Wednesday is not estimated to increase the current tax rate due to savings from refinancing previously issued bonds and projected growth in total taxable assessed values districtwide.

In addition to this unique circumstance, the district has qualified for a $7.6 million matching grant from the state's school capital improvement's program. The district will only receive the grant if the measure passes. 

“The board and the district respect the financial concerns of our community,” Board Chair Tim Carpenter said in a news release. “With thoughtful planning and actions, this measure will not add taxes to our community. We believe this bond will protect our students and staff and preserve the life of our facilities while being good stewards of community resources.”

The board’s decision comes two years after district voters narrowly rejected a $70 million bond measure.

After months of discussion and continued work by the district’s Community Bond Task Force, the school district pursued polling the community in July, which revealed 56% of the community are in favor of a bond.

The smaller, $27.5 million package will address critical health, safety and security upgrades in all of the district’s schools.

In addition, the package aims to make energy efficiency updates, modernize existing buildings with technology and infrastructure improvements.

The bond would also increase student capacity at Vern Patrick Elementary and Tom McCall Elementary with the addition of six new classrooms at each school.

In 2024, the district will pay off remaining outstanding debt from general obligation bonds issued in 2008.

The resulting reduction in the tax rate will allow the school district to pursue its vision for the replacement of M.A. Lynch Elementary by asking voters in November 2024 to approve a second bond measure, which also would not increase the tax rate.

"By refinancing our bond debt and careful planning, we are able to provide much needed repairs to our schools for years to come without increasing the burden on taxpayers,” said Pat Tellinghusen, a member of the district’s community bond task force. “This is a boost our students and teachers need, when the pandemic makes education so difficult."

Article Topic Follows: Election

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