Hillsboro to ask voters for $408M school bond

$408 million bond "really is a renewal," district official said

Brookwood Elementary in Hillsboro, May 24, 2017 (KOIN)
Brookwood Elementary in Hillsboro, May 24, 2017 (KOIN)

HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — The Hillsboro School Board unanimously OK’d placing a capital construction bond on the November 2017 ballot to fund investments and upgrades throughout the district.

Beth Graser, the Communications Director for the Hillsboro School District, May 24, 2017 (KOIN)
Beth Graser, the Communications Director for the Hillsboro School District, May 24, 2017 (KOIN)

The $408 million bond “really is a renewal. We’re not asking them to increase their taxes for this bond,” said Beth Graser, the communications director for the Hillsboro School District. The bond ask will retain current bond rate of $2.24 per $1000 of assessed property value, she said.

“The bond will allow us to affect every single school in our district and really be good stewards of the community’s investment,” she told KOIN 6 News. It would also allow the district to “expand for future growth and invest in the kinds of things that are going to enhance student achievement.”

Over the next 20 years, South Hillsboro is expecting another 20,000 residents. Two other major pockets of growth, North Plains and Cornelius, are each expecting another 1000 or so homes over approximately 5 years.

Some of the Hillsboro school have “capacity constraints,” she said, “which is why we’re looking to build some new elementary schools.”

The last bond passed 11 years ago, “but things need maintenance and things need improvement. And the way schools are funded, we don’t get money specifically for capital improvements.”

If it’s passed, Graser said this bond will help the district for about 9 years.

“And in 9 years we’ll have another opportunity where the 2006 bond will have been paid off and there will be an opportunity to address some of the remaining issues that will need to be addressed at that time.”

Lynn Landre is a parent at Brookwood Elementary School, which was built in 1953. She is supportive of a new building for those kids.

“The classrooms are small for 30 plus kids. They make it work and I’m impressed that they make it work,” Landre said. “But it is very small for the amount of kids.”

Voters will have their say in November.

                    Investing in:
> Safety, security, seismic upgrades
> Technology and student achievement
> New capacity
>Current infrastructure improvements

                   Projects:
> Safety upgrades at all schools
> Tech devices and infrastructure, including self-sufficiency for internet connectivity and bandwidth
> Expansion of career and tech ed programs at all high schools
> Expansion of Glencoe HS and Evergreen MS
> Improvements to Hillsboro HS and Reedville Elementary
> Constructing gyms at 8 elementary schools
> Mechanical, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, lighting and other improvements at facilities
> Lighted turf fields at Century, Glencoe and Hillsboro high schools