Bond Measure Process
The Salem-Keizer School Board voted to place a $619.7 million general obligation bond measure on the May 15, 2018, ballot. The bond is estimated to increase the current property tax levy rate by $1.24 per thousand of assessed property value, or about $248 per year on a home valued at $200,000.
A bond is needed to address the district’s facility needs like constructing additional space to relieve overcrowding and prepare for future enrollment growth, adding or expanding space for Career-Technical/Vocational programs and science education, making safety and security improvements district-wide, expanding or constructing additional space at all traditional high schools to increase capacity, and more. The total amount of work needed far exceeds the district’s ability to pay from the general fund.
The School Board approved the final bond package on January 9, 2018. See what’s in the package here, or read below for detailed information.
This page provides information about the process to develop the bond measure.
1. Long Range Facilities Plan
In 2015, the district began the process to update the Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP). The LRFP outlines the facility improvements needed to support projected enrollment growth and to provide the right kinds of spaces to support educational programs. For example, science and Career-Technical/Vocational Education programs require special types of spaces and equipment. The total estimated cost of all work listed in the plan is $766 million.
Read about the development of the LRFP:
- Draft Long Range Facilities Plan in development (October 20, 2016)
- Citizens Facilities Task Force holds first meeting (December 7, 2016)
- School Board hears report on school and district facility needs (March 14, 2017)
2. Citizens Facilities Task Force
The School Board instructed Superintendent Perry to form a Citizens Facilities Task Force to review the Draft Long Range Facilities Plan. The 18-member Task Force met over several months and reviewed every page of the Plan. The Task Force’s work resulted in a report to the School Board that recommended the Board pursue a general obligation bond to fund the work.
3. Bond Feasibility Study/Community Poll
The School Board accepted the Citizens Facilities Task Force report and instructed district staff to perform a bond feasibility study. The study was conducted in a phone survey of Salem and Keizer residents. The intent of the survey was to determine the community’s priorities for district facilities and willingness to support the work through property taxes. The results of the poll showed that the community is supportive of addressing the facility needs of the school district, but has concerns about the cost. In the survey, the community indicated support for a tax increase between $1.51 to $2.50 per thousand of assessed property value to pay for the work.
Read about the Bond Feasibility Study:
- School Board orders bond feasibility study (April 12, 2017)
- Survey results show support for bond, but concerns about cost (May 25, 2017)
4. Revised Bond Package
The School Board responded to the community’s feedback by asking district staff to reduce the size of the bond package. Staff revised and recalculated the list and presented a smaller package to the School Board at the end of May 2017. The revised package is about 19 percent less than the original package and totals around $620 million. This revised package was the basis for the School Board’s continued work to finalize the bond measure. The School Board voted to place a bond measure on the May 2018 ballot and continues to work on finalizing the bond package.
Read about the School Board’s progress on the bond package:
- School Board hears smaller bond package (May 31, 2017)
- School Board proposes general obligation bond for May 2018 ballot (June 19, 2017)
5. Bond Measure Listening & Learning Forums
Parents, staff and members of the community were invited to attend one or more of six Listening & Learning Forums about the bond. Meetings were held at each traditional high school. Attendees heard a presentation about the bond and then met with school principals and Facilities & Planning Department staff to view concept maps, talk about projects planned for each school and ask quesitons. Feedback was collected at the Forums and was compiled into a report for the School Board.
6. School Board Considers Input – Second Revised Bond Package
After three special meetings to review feedback from the community and staff on the base bond package, and receiving additional information regarding special education program needs at high schools, seismic review panel information, land acquisition needs and other program considerations, the School Board asked staff to again revise the bond package, considering the following guidance:
- The total amount of the bond is not to exceed $620 million
- Focus on alleviating overcrowding, including classrooms and infrastructure
- Prioritize health and safety projects that will benefit the most students
- Consider incorporating as much as possible from the content areas that were presented to the Board after the base bond proposal was developed
- Use the polling data and analysis to insure the recommendation is in alignment with community support and represents a cost-effective approach
At its December 12, meeting, the Board heard the first reading of a revised package totaling $619.7 million and includes the following changes, and others:
- Expands the current Auburn Elementary School rather than builds a new school
- Reduces the number of special education classroom additions at the six traditional high schools by one
- Places new classrooms near their content counterparts in schools (i.e., new science classrooms next to existing science classrooms)
- Plans for an increase in cost escalation
- Adjusts the construction schedules to perform more work early in the life of the bond
- Expands West Salem High School to accommodate 2,100 students instead of 2,000
- Constructs a new main gymnasium at North Salem High School
A $619.7 million general obligation bond is estimated to increase the current property tax levy rate by $1.24 per thousand of assessed property value, or about $248 per year on a home valued at $200,000.
Read about the Board’s first reading of the bond package:
7. School Board Approves Final Bond Package
At its January 9 meeting, the School Board unanimously approved the final bond package, and heard the first reading of the Resolution to call a measure election and the Ballot Title to be included in the voter’s pamphlet.
Read about the Final Bond Package:
Download the document describing the bond package (PDF)
Download the Resolution and Ballot Title (PDF)
8. Next Steps
The School Board will hear the second reading of the Resolution and Ballot Title and will vote on the documents at its February 13 meeting.