The history of the development of the proposed bond package is described below.
For more detail on the development of the proposed bond, please visit the 2018 Bond Measure Archive.
Long Range Facilities Plan
The process to update Salem-Keizer’s Long Range Facilities Plan began in 2015 when staff completed a capacity analysis of each of the district’s 42 elementary schools in order to identify space to accommodate full-day kindergarten classes.
At about the same time, the district was nearing completion of construction work funded by the 2008 bond. The district contracted with Dull Olson Weekes – IBI Group Architects, Inc., to work with staff to re-assess current and future facility needs.
Portland State University’s Population Research Center, the agency chosen by the State of Oregon to prepare annual population estimates for Oregon cities and counties, provided the student enrollment projections needed for the Long Range Facilities Plan.
The total of all facility needs identified in the Plan was estimated to total about $766 million.
Community Facilities Task Force
In the fall of 2016, Superintendent Christy Perry appointed 18 volunteers to serve on a Community Facilities Task Force. The Task Force met nine times over three months to study, question, and discuss the projects included in draft Long Range Facilities plan and to create a recommendation to the School Board about how to fund the work needed.
The Co-Chairs of the Task Force presented a report to the School Board in March 2017 which recommended the Board place a general obligation bond on the ballot for voters to consider.
Bond Feasibility Study – Community Survey
At the March 2017 special meeting, the School Board voted to accept the Task Force’s recommendations, and instructed district staff to perform a bond feasibility study. Staff contracted with a professional public relations research firm to conduct a survey of Salem and Keizer residents. In the survey, residents were asked what projects they feel are a priority, and how much of a tax increase they are able to support to fund the work.
In May 2017, the polling consultants presented their survey findings to the School Board. In the survey, the Salem-Keizer community said they were supportive of a bond measure, and of a tax increase to fund the work. However, the community expressed concerns about the cost.
The survey data showed the community’s priorities for schools include:
- Adding space to address crowding and enrollment growth
- Career-technical education/vocational training programs
- Safety and security upgrades
- Up-to-date science labs at middle and high schools
- Seismic safety upgrades
- Support for a property tax increase between $1.51 and $2.50 per thousand of assessed value
After hearing the survey results, the School Board instructed district staff to reduce the bond package.
First Revised Bond Package
In June 2017, district staff presented a revised bond package totaling approximately $620 million to the School Board. The Board received feedback on the package from staff and community members collected at Listening & Learning Forums held in each high school community and from design concept meetings held with select school staff. The Board also received additional reports on special education program facility needs, seismic review panel information, land acquisition needs and other program considerations which totaled about an additional $60 million in identified needs, bringing the total identified facility needs in the district to about $820 million.
Following receipt of the information, the School Board asked staff for a second revision to the package, considering the following guidance:
- The total amount of the bond is not to exceed $620 million
- Focus on alleviating overcrowding, including classrooms and infrastructure
- Prioritize health and safety projects that will benefit the most students
- Consider incorporating as much as possible from the content areas that were presented to the Board after the base bond proposal was developed
- Use the polling data and analysis to insure the recommendation is in alignment with community support and represents a cost-effective approach
Second Revised/Final Bond Package
At its December 12 meeting, the Board heard the first reading of a revised package totaling $619.7 million. The final bond package was approved in January 2018.
If passed by voters, the proposed $619.7 million general obligation bond would increase the current property tax levy rate by an estimated $1.24 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or about $248 per year on a home valued at $200,000.