The Cascade School District Board of Directors have voted to place a $56.3 million bond measure on the ballot in May of 2021.
The proposed bond measure is designed to address health, safety, and security concerns; address community growth and classroom overcrowding; repair and upgrade schools; and support student career pathways.
The current tax rate, which passed in 2005, is $1.21 per $1,000 of assessed value. If the proposed measure passes, it is estimated that taxpayers in the Cascade School District would pay $2.13 per $1,000 of assessed value for 25 years. If the proposed measure does not pass, taxpayers would continue to pay the current rate of $1.21 per $1,000 of assessed value.
In addition, the district has qualified for a $4 million matching grant from the State of Oregon’s OSCIM program. The district will only receive this grant if the measure passes. An independent citizen-led Bond Oversight Committee would be established to oversee the use of bond funds if the proposed bond measure passes.
This bond proposal addresses five key areas:
Health, Safety, and Security
If passed, the proposed bond measure would include health, safety, and security improvements to all CSD schools and health and ventilation upgrades to a number of schools with the greatest needs. Several schools in CSD have locks, front entries, fire panels, alarms, and security systems in need of repair or replacement. Many schools have access points, entryways, or outdoor walkways that would be renovated or enclosed to improve school security and student safety if the measure passes. If passed, the proposed bond measure would fund asbestos abatement and improve air quality with new heating and ventilation systems.
Address Community Growth and Classroom Overcrowding
If passed, the proposed bond measure would address overcrowding by constructing additional classrooms and
renovating existing school facilities to expand student capacity. Student enrollment has increased more than 400 students over the last 8 years causing capacity issues across all grade levels. Homebuilding activity and future population growth in CSD are expected to outgrow the capacity of some schools. The district’s five-year enrollment projections suggest that every school in the district may be over capacity by 2025.
Repair and Upgrade Schools
If passed, the proposed bond measure would reduce operational costs by making repairs and energy-efficient
upgrades that modernize schools and redirect funds back into the classroom. Many of the schools in Cascade School District are at least 50 years old and some schools are more than 100 years old. Although the district has worked hard to preserve these community assets, there are aging buildings that are in a state of disrepair. District school buildings need foundation, building structure, and roofing repairs. New HVAC systems, plumbing, electrical systems, exterior windows, and doors would help reduce costs and provide district-wide energy efficiencies. Proposed updates to learning spaces and technology infrastructure would allow students and staff access to modern learning tools and resources if the measure passes.
Support Student Career Pathways
If passed, the CSD proposed bond measure would enhance vocational programs for students pursuing a health services, science, or trades career. If the proposed measure passes, the district would construct four new science classrooms at Cascade High School to expand vocational programs such as anatomy, physiology, and medical
terminology for students pursuing health services careers. The district would repurpose older science classrooms into regular classrooms to alleviate overcrowding at the high school level and create space in the Career Technical Education building to expand vocational programs.
Continued Fiscal Stewardship
If passed, this comprehensive bond package will allow CSD to eliminate safety hazards, make basic and urgent repairs, and make schools more efficient. These targeted improvements will allow the district to redirect general fund savings into the classroom, rather than on maintenance and energy expenses. The State of Oregon has awarded CSD a matching funds grant of $4 million to help fund bond projects. The District would only receive the grant if the proposed bond measure passes.
The proposed bond measure is a result of nearly two years of study of the district’s facilities. Cascade School District last passed a bond 16 years ago. The district partnered with DLR Architecture Firm, district staff, parents, and community members to form the Facility Needs Committee. This volunteer committee met for 10 months to review critical district facility needs and develop this proposal.
If the proposed measure does not pass, the projects outlined would not be completed and the tax rate would remain $1.21 per $1,000 of assessed value.