BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine Schools expect to grow by another 3,000 students in the next 10 years. Many of the district's schools are already full and they'd like to build two more in the near future.
Superintendent Shay Mikalson spoke to a packed League of Women Voters luncheon, Thursday, about the district's request for a $268 million bond. "I think, one perspective we all have to understand is that just by saying 'no' perhaps to this doesn't mean they don't come and it doesn't mean we don't then have that issue of growth. It just really then limits us in lots of other ways, of providing what we all want for our kids, as well."
The district will ask voters to approve the bond in May. It would increase the tax rate by $.44 per $1,000 of assessed property value. For a $200,000 home, Mikalson says that would equal about $7 per month of additional taxes, or just over $80 a year. "If this passes, our communities of Bend, Sunriver and La Pine would still be the fifth least taxed of the school districts in our local area. Meaning, if you live in Redmond, you are paying more to schools, right now; and you'd still be paying more, even if this passed. If you live in Sisters, you're paying more and would continue to pay more. The only school district that is currently paying less is Crook County." He adds, "To give you some perspective, that tax rate - assuming we're successful in this in May - would bring the tax rate going back to schools to what it was in 1998, when we supported Summit High School. Pretty remarkably, since 1998, we've built 10 schools and actually had the tax rate go down."
The bond measure will appear on the May 16 ballot. Mikalson says it would pay for construction of a new elementary and high school, along with several upgrades at existing schools. Learn more at the district's website.