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School Bonds Score Victories Elsewhere in Oregon

While voters rejected the Medford and Grants Pass school bonds, Salem scored the third-largest bond in state history.

Posted: May. 17, 2018 4:57 PM
Updated: May. 17, 2018 4:59 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Although defeated by relatively narrow margins, a fairly modest $25 million bond for the Medford School District's CTE programs and a much more sweeping $138 bond for renovation of Grants Pass schools were both denied by local voters on Tuesday.

General obligation bonds at Oregon school districts in the towns of Oakland and Sutherlin were also rejected, according to the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA).

Yet elsewhere, school districts in Oregon won significant victories. Corvallis passed a $199.9 million bond—bigger than the Medford and Grants Pass bonds combined. The Nestucca Valley School District, located in rural areas east of Pacific City, won a $25.7 million bond. Voters in the little town of Harrisburg, north of Eugene, approved a small $8.9 million bond.

The Salem-Keizer School District scored the biggest victory—a massive $619.7 million bond, which the OSBA says is the third-largest in Oregon history.

Meanwhile, Oregon had a total of four school local option levies—which are used to supplement operating funds, the OSBA says. All four of them passed easily, getting an average of 70 percent 'Yes' votes. Those levies were for Beaverton, Hood River County, Philomath and Sisters.

Jim Green, OSBA’s executive director, said the successful option levy results demonstrate that voters understand the need to invest in public education.

“Oregonians know that we are struggling to meet our short-term needs in schools,” he said. “The next step is to find a long-term and fair way to invest in our students for decades to come.”

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