As of Tuesday, May 3, 2016
No increase in taxes, but big increase in value for students and community
Hood River County School District facilities serve our children, and serve the community in general.
The time has come to continue the care and feeding of the schools that this community has so strongly shown in the past, and support the proposed $57.18 million bond levy on the May 17 Primary Ballot.
Schools have changed dramatically in the past 20-50 years, in terms of physical use, technology, curriculum, and educational practices. Facilities must keep up, yet many of them in this county have not. This bond request is our community’s opportunity to help our educational environment keep pace with changes that have happened and changes yet to come.
Hood River County School District is asking voters to support replacing a current bond; passage would mean no increase in the current HRCSD bond tax rate of $1.83 for $1,000 assessed valuation.
That works out to $549 annually for a $300,000 home, and $736 for a $400,000 home.
The bond means no increase in anyone’s tax bill, but will yield an exciting array of improvements that would modernize and transform our school buildings over the next five years.
Boiler replacement at three schools, and the need for new roofs, are examples of health and safety needs that the bond will address. The same can be said for plumbing, electrical, heating and ventilation upgrades, and energy efficiency improvements that the bonds will pay for at schools throughout the district.
Upgrades to outdoor practice and competition grounds benefit students as well as many community groups.
The planned improvements in the technology wing at Wy’east would mean a big step forward in instructional opportunities for students.
The beloved, but highly inefficient, May Street School would see the biggest change: demolition followed by creation of a new school on the same property.
We urge approval of the bond request, as taking care of our school facilities is among the community’s greatest responsibilities.
Bond committee member Rich Trueax put it well when asked to put the needs in context:
“With the dismal status of Oregon state school funding, locally supported bonds are how we responsibly maintain the investment of earlier generations in our school district infrastructure. An example of the immediate need is the heating system at Hood River Middle School — currently a temporary rental boiler sits on the front lawn of Hood River Middle School. The replacement of the former near 100-year old boiler at that school is estimated at $4.5 million. An identical boiler of the same age has not yet failed at Parkdale, but can be expected to. A visitor to May Street Elementary on a rainy day is likely to find buckets catching rain water at various locations throughout the building. An investment by past generations has created the Hood River County School District as it now stands; we believe it would be fiscally irresponsible and disrespectful to allow that generational investment to deteriorate by not continuing maintenance, repair, and replacement of the school district infrastructure.”
Lastly, keep in mind that Election Day is May 17, but all voters who mail their ballots are urged to do so earlier than usual — May 10, to ensure it gets there in time, according to Hood River County Elections’ Kim Kean. Ballots must be in the county’s hands by 8 p.m. May 17. That means if you have not mailed them by May 10, they must be delivered to the two drop-boxes, at the County Administration Building, Sixth and State streets, or Cascade Locks City Council. Remember, postmarks don’t count.