Salem-Keizer board accepts task force recommendations

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Salem-Keizer board accepts task force recommendations

Published 7:53 p.m. PT March 21, 2017 | Updated 9:31 a.m. PT March 22, 2017

After months of Citizen’s Facilities Task Force meetings, the Salem-Keizer School Board formally accepted the task force’s recommendations to address overcrowding at a special meeting Tuesday evening.

The task force presented its official report to the board on March 14. Among the recommendations are a new elementary school, dozens of new science labs, fewer portable classrooms, and a change in boundaries.

The list of proposed changes and improvements for the district could cost upwards of $700 million, which the task force recommended be funded by a general obligation bond.

The report represents the totality of the needs in the district, said Michael Wolfe, chief operations officer for the district. It’s now the job of the board to prioritize the recommendations and find the feasibility of what to pursue next.

The board accepted the recommendations as presented, with one abstention from Paul Kyllo (Zone 7).

The district will now hire a firm to conduct a bond feasibility survey to gauge public opinion on the potential bond and its impact. This will help board members understand what taxpayers currently think is important to prioritize and how much they may be willing to pay.

The survey results do not dictate action by the board and the survey doesn’t make promises to taxpayers, said Jay Remy, a spokesperson for the district.

Another party will then be hired to analyze the survey results, all of which will be presented to the board in late April or early May, assuming there are no unforeseen obstacles.

After that, the district will inform the public through community meetings and other outreach efforts. This is separate from a campaign that advocates for a specific result of the election, which is done by a political action committee.

The final step will be for voters to approve the bond on the November ballot.

For more information, go to www.salkeiz.k12.or.us/schoolboard or call 503-399-3001. A recording of Tuesday’s meeting can be viewed on cctvsalem.org.

Contact Natalie Pate at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist.

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