Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What would the school bond accomplish?
The bond would significantly improve safety, security, and building longevity at all Estacada schools. Our buildings have more than $10 million in preexisting maintenance improvement needs, and the bond would also install security and lockdown systems at all schools. Capacity at our elementaries would also be increased. Find the list of projects here: https://estacadaschoolbond.org/the-2020-bond/.
When was the last bond passed?
The last school bond was passed 20 years ago, and has a 25 year repayment period.
What did the last bond accomplish?
The last bond made significant improvements at all Estacada schools. Clackamas River Elementary was built, annexes were added at both River Mill and Eagle Creek elementaries, and Estacada Middle School received significant renovations.
Why pass a bond now?
There are several benefits to passing a bond at this time:
- Community support: In a July community polling, a majority of the community supports the bond. With the support of the citizens of Estacada and Eagle Creek, the school board moved forward with the November bond proposal.
- Reopening our schools: We are all eager to have our students back in school. Several bond projects would support the district's aim to reopen and keep schools open.
- Grant opportunity: If the bond measure passes, the district would receive a $4 million grant from the State of Oregon- which would fund more than 17% of all bond projects at no additional cost to taxpayers. This is a one-time opportunity, and these significant funds are dependent upon the bond's passage.
- Rising costs and expenses: As construction costs continue to rise and inflation continues, the expense of these bond projects will continue to rise. Additionally, prolonging addressing maintenance needs at all schools will result in the list of urgent fixes at our schools continuing to grow. To save our community money long-term, it is beneficial to address all needs as soon as possible.
How would the school bond protect our students, staff, and schools from COVID-19 outbreaks and school closures?
Several bond projects are focused on student and staff safety. Air filtration systems at all schools are outdated and inefficient. Improving and installing new air filtration at all schools would support safety during COVID-19. Additionally, both elementary schools were nearing capacity prior to the need for social distancing. One metric for reopening- and keeping schools open- relates to the square footage required per student. Increasing capacity at both elementaries by adding new classrooms would support social distancing needs, as well as contribute to small class sizes in the long-term.
Why do Estacada schools have significant maintenance needs?
The average Estacada School District building is over 50 years old. As the age of our buildings rise, so do maintenance costs. The Estacada School District's budget prioritizes teaching and learning, and more than 85% of the district's budget goes directly into the classroom. Within the last year the district has increased its maintenance staffing to ensure that there is a sufficient workforce to maintain district property. The district will continue to prioritize high-quality educators, small class sizes, and a diversity of program offerings. These priorities mean that large maintenance investments are difficult to make. A school bond would focus on creating cost-saving efficiencies that would allow the maintenance of buildings to begin funding itself more, decreasing the amount of money that is taken away from students and the classroom.
How will the administration be held accountable in spending the bond funds?
An independent citizen Bond Oversight Committee would monitor the progress of the bond, issue regular reports, and ensure that projects are being managed responsibly. Additionally, the law prohibits the use of bond funds for any expense not listed on the ballot. Transparency and trust is important to the Estacada School District, and the district continues to receive clean audit results from a third-party annually.
What would happen at Eagle Creek Elementary?
Eagle Creek Elementary currently houses Summit Learning Charter, a charter school that partners with the district. Summit Learning Charter has been recognized statewide as a top charter school, and is an excellent tenant. Summit Learning Charter has been improving and maintaining the Eagle Creek building, and both students and the district benefit from the charter school remaining housed at Eagle Creek Elementary. Annually the district receives more than $2 million in profit from its partnership with Summit Charter.
How would CTE programs benefit?
Career Technical Education programs would benefit from the passage of bond measure 3-565. All Career Technical classrooms including auto and agriculture would receive updates. The bond would also create a "Community School" hall at Estacada High School, and the district is collaborating with Clackamas Community College to host college-level classes at EHS pending passage of the bond. These classes would be open to both students and the broader community. Additionally, passage of the school bond would be cost savings for the district, allowing them to invest more funds into CTE programs.
How much would the bond cost?
District leadership and the school board have made significant efforts to ensure that the bond proposal is a modest ask, while balancing the significant needs of our schools. After engaging with the community, a reasonable sum was agreed on. The bond would cost taxpayers 95 cents per $1000 assessed value- $199 annually for the average taxpayer in Estacada. The bond would raise $22.9 million dollars, and the district would also receive $4 million for the State of Oregon if the bond passes. This grant would fund more than 17% of all bond projects at no additional cost to taxpayers.