The Salem-Keizer School Board heard the results of a bond feasibility study at a work session on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. The survey found the community is supportive of a bond, but has concerns about the cost. The next step is to reduce the size and cost of the potential bond package, and present it to the School Board for consideration.
The feasibility study took the form of a phone survey that was administered in April. The survey was designed to discover the community’s priorities around facility needs, and the community’s level of support for a property tax increase to pay for the construction.
The total amount of work needed in the district is estimated at $766 million, and would require an average property tax increase of about $3 per thousand of assessed property value over the life of the bond.
The district hired professional polling firms to conduct the survey and analyze the results. Melissa Martin of The Nelson Report, and Jeanne Magmer of C & M Communications, described the community’s priorities and concerns to the Board as revealed by the survey. A few examples are listed below.
- Expanding Career-Technical/vocational education programs.
- Adding space to expand the capacity of schools to address crowding and growing enrollment.
- Constructing science labs at middle and high schools.
- Increasing safety and security district-wide.
- Making seismic upgrades at schools rated high- and very high-risk of collapse during an earthquake.
- Addressing improvements to existing schools such as exterior paint, sealing masonry walls, replacing roofs, and mechanical and plumbing systems.
- Concerns and other themes:
- The community feels $3 per thousand increase in property tax is too high.
- The community prefers expanding and renovating existing facilities to building new facilities.
Next, district staff will review the list of facility needs while keeping the community’s feedback in mind, and narrow the list of construction projects. A proposed bond package will be presented to the School Board on Tuesday, May 30, 2017.