The St. Helens School District Board of Directors has announced that if Measure 5-282 passes during the May 19 election, they have instructed the District to delay the sale of bonds until 2022.
The delay would not impact the proposed construction schedule to the high school, according to a release from the St. Helens School District.
The following is the release from the District.
Bond Package Developed, Referred to Voters
In 2015 when the St. Helens School District held listening sessions throughout the community about the direction they wanted their school district to lead, they were told, among other things, that the Middle School and High School needed to be updated to modern health, safety and education standards.
“Over the past five years, the St. Helens School District has been planning and working with our community to upgrade these facilities,” Board Chair Bill Amos said. “We have built a new middle school and a new options high school building both of which were built under budget."
For the past year and a half, the District has worked with the community to develop a High School improvement plan that would address health, safety, building systems and education programs at the facility. In February, the board of directors referred the proposed bond to voters for the May 2020 ballot.
In March, the State of Oregon closed all schools and Governor Brown issued the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order.
“After five years of planning, no one would have predicted a pandemic changing the world, as we know it,” Board Member Kellie Smith said. “Being responsive to the current situation, we went looking for creative solutions. The bond was already on the ballot; the health, safety and education needs are there more than ever so we asked: how can we be sensitive to those impacted by the pandemic economy and still support the needs of students and our community?”
Delay Bond Sales, No Immediate Tax Impact
If the voters approve the bond this May, the St. Helens School District will delay the bond construction tax until November of 2022. The district can do this by delaying the sale of the bonds authorized by voters.
Construction Timeline Not Impacted
The delay of the bonds sale is not expected to impact the proposed design and early construction timeline.
“The good news is due to strong fiscal management during the middle school construction bond, the St. Helens School District was able to set aside $5 million for renovations at the high school," Amos said." Delaying when the tax will show up on your tax bill for two years will not change the construction timeline because we have $5 million dollars to begin work at the St. Helens High School as planned."
Statement from District Board of Directors
“We know that the current economic situation can be scary and even overwhelming at times - many of us have had family members and friends lose their jobs and they are understandably worried about their current situation,” Board Member Ryan Scholl said.
“We have also witnessed our St. Helens community come together to support one another," Board Member Melody Killens said. "The support for our schools has been amazing and we are so proud of the work every one of our district employees have done to respond in these unprecedented times to continue to provide education and vital services to our students and families.”
“We will get through these times together and we believe that we will come out stronger on the other end," Board Member Trinity Monahan said. "We are asking our community to look beyond the present and look to the future and the future of our children. Let us invest in our children, their future, and our community. Let us build them something to be proud of."
Follow this developing story and the results of the May 19 election here online and in the Wednesday print editions of The Chronicle.