The St. Helens School District (SHSD) board of directors withdrew a bond measure for St. Helens High School at their Wednesday, Aug. 28 school board meeting.
The reason for the withdrawal, according to Superintendent Scot Stockwell, was to gather more information from stakeholders about what they would like to see as far as improvements and renovations at the high school.
The district is planning on having another bond measure on a May ballot, Stockwell said at the meeting.
“We’ve received tremendous support on repairing the high school, but as you know, a lot have pushed us to know the details, so that they know exactly what they’ll be getting in a renovated high school,” Stockwell said.
Stockwell added a lot of people started asking for more information after the school district began handing out flyers about the bond.
“In an effort to be responsive, I think it’s prudent –I don’t think, I know it’s prudent that we continue to visit, listen to our community, take in input as far as what they want to see in a completely repaired and renovated high school, and shoot for a May 2020 ballot,” Stockwell said.
As The Chronicle previously reported, the bond measure was intended to upgrade fire and security systems, as well as classrooms and other learning spaces. Stockwell told The Chronicle in August that the renovation would aim to provide better connectivity between parts of the building, as well as upgrades to high school career and vocational training labs.
During the bond development process, SHSD officials chose 30 community members to provide input on changes they would like to see. Stockwell said in August the members were chosen from different groups such as parents, sports boosters and patrons.
“I know a lot of people are excited for this bond, and I don’t want them to be discouraged,” Stockwell said at the board meeting. “This is part of doing it right.”
After Stockwell explained the resolution to withdraw the bond, the other board members seemed mostly supportive of the action. However, some brought up concerns, comparing the delay to the delays that happened at McBride Elementary School, which resulted in inflation driving up the cost of the overall project.
Stockwell explained the school can still make progress on different aspects of the project.
“By 2020, we’ll be able to have a lot of the work started,” he said.