Oregon referendum asks for $50M to update schools

$33M referendum failed in 2012
Oregon referendum asks for $50M to update schools

In just over two weeks the Oregon School District will ask residents for more than $50 million on a referendum ballot.

This is the second time in the last two years the school district has put a referendum before voters. In 2012, a $33 million request failed. Now, school officials are asking for more: $54.6 million in one referendum question, and $355,864 a year starting in 2015 in the second question.

That money would go toward goals like updating security at several school entrances, addressing a roofing problem and increasing the size of school hallways and classrooms as enrollment grows.

School officials said they’re asking for more so more of their students see results.

“Last time we had two buildings that were part of the referendum. This year we have five buildings,” said Andy Weiland, the district’s business manager. “So rather than impacting 1,600 kids, this time we’re impacting about 3,300 kids.”

If passed, the proposals would add about $55 in taxes to every $100,000 home. That’s up from $49 in 2012’s failed referendum.

“It’s really a lot more money,” Oregon parent Julia Meyers said.

Meyers said while the price tag appears steep, she will likely vote for the referendum.

“In general, I know the schools need updates, especially with safety issues,” she said.

Other parents are still undecided. Resident Erin Peterson said while she agrees with some things on the list, she thinks others may not be necessary right away.

“Instead of doing this huge thing that has so many extras tacked on to it and so many unknowns, it would be cool if we could just address primary concerns first and go from there,” Peterson said. “A lot of people are going to have a hard time voting for it if they don’t feel like every piece is necessary.”