The School Board has approved a base proposal of $619.2 million as general obligation bond package for the May 2018 ballot.
The School Board approved the package as a baseline for future conversations as they continue to work with staff and the community to refine the overall number.
The package was developed in a lengthy process that began with the development of the district’s Long Range Facilities Plan, which spells out the facility needs of all schools and district facilities. The total of all work included in the plan was estimated at $766 million, which would increase the levy rate an estimated $3 per thousand of assessed value.
A group of 18 volunteers from Salem and Keizer served on the Citizens Facilities Task Force and reviewed the items in the Plan. The Task Force also reviewed the funding methods available to the school district to pay for the work needed.
The Citizens Facilities Task Force recommended that the School Board pursue a general obligation bond to fund the work. The School Board accepted the recommendation and instructed district staff to conduct a bond feasibility study.
The feasibility study took the form of a phone survey designed to discover the community’s priorities for schools, and how much the community felt they could pay to support the needed construction. The survey was completed in April 2017.
The results of the poll showed that the community is supportive of a bond measure and of the work schools need, but had concerns about the cost of the $766 million package and a $3 per thousand estimated increase in the levy rate.
The survey said the community was supportive of a tax increase in the range of $1.51 to $2.50 per thousand of assessed property value.
In response to the polling results, the School Board asked district staff to develop a smaller, less expensive bond package.
The smaller base proposal totals an estimated $619.2 million and is estimated to increase the property tax levy rate between $1.28 and $1.39 per thousand of assessed value, which is more affordable than the community indicated they could support.
The Board voted to place a bond on the May 2018 ballot for the community to consider.