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

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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 salkeiz.k12.or.us/schoolboard/ or call 503-399-3001.

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

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

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Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is the education reporter for the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. Natalie has previously worked for organizations and publications such as Direct Relief International, Waging Non-Violence, and Amnesty International USA. She has had stories published with USA Today, Associated Press and Ozy, among others. Natalie earned her B.A. in Politics and French and Francophone Studies (FFS) from Willamette University. During her studies, she wrote a Politics thesis titled, "No One is Dying: How and Why the U.S. Federal Government Avoids Executing Prisoners on Federal Death Row" and an FFS thesis, in French, on cannibalism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Natalie is a journalist, performer, traveler, fiction writer and more. She is working to publish her dystopian novella, "Choice," which follows a man during 24 hours in solitary confinement for allegedly committing murder. For more information on Natalie visit www.about.me/natalie_pate, like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist, or follow Natalie on Twitter (@Nataliempate) or Tumblr (Nataliempate blog "In the Shoes of a Journalist"). Her reporting with the Statesman Journal can also be found at www.StatesmanJournal.com.

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