Salem-Keizer board unanimously approves bond package for nearly $620 million


Voters are likely to see a $619.7 million school bond measure on the May ballot.

The Salem-Keizer School Board unanimously approved the May 2018 General Obligation Bond Package at its meeting Tuesday evening.

If passed by voters this spring, the nearly $620 million bond would pay to relieve overcrowding, expand academic programs, make safety upgrades and address other facility needs in the district.

The package outlines 12 new career-technical/vocational education program spaces at high schools, 170 new general education classrooms, 39 science labs, 20 cafeteria additions and/or expansions, nine multipurpose physical education additions, two new auxiliary gyms and one new main gym.

Original plans for the bond work included rebuilding Auburn Elementary School in Salem.

However, Lillian Govus, a spokeswoman for the district, told the Statesman Journal in a previous interview, “We were unable to complete the necessary land negotiations to facilitate the construction of an entirely new school.”

The bond is estimated to raise the current tax rate of $1.50 to $2.74 per thousand of assessed property value, according to district officials.

It would be the largest bond in the district’s history.

At Tuesday’s meeting, board members also had a first reading of the specific language expected to be on the May 15 ballot.

The board will hear the second reading and vote on the resolution and ballot title of the measure at its February 13 meeting. The title would then be filed with elections officials, which finalizes the measure and formally places it on the ballot.

The board is scheduled to discuss the bond in some way at every board meeting through July.

For more information, go to or call 503-399-3001.

Contact Natalie Pate at, 503-399-6745, or follow her on Twitter @Nataliempate or on Facebook at

Read more:

Salem-Keizer School Board member announces candidacy for legislative seat

► Legislators tasked with fixing Oregon’s dismal graduation rate

► Audit: Oregon can do more to boost grad rates

Published by Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is a freelance journalist and author based in Salem, Oregon. She wrote about education for more than seven years at the Statesman Journal and now covers education and other topics throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is originally from Colorado and earned her B.A. in Politics and French from Willamette University.

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