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Frequently Asked Questions

 
What will the bond measure do for Springfield schools?

The proposed bond would provide improvements and upgrades at every District school to extend the useful life of school buildings and to provide access to 21st-century tools so that students graduate with the skills necessary to be successful in today’s workplaces and colleges.

Why a new bond request so soon?

Historically low interest rates, relatively low construction costs and expiring District bonds allow the District to borrow more money at a lower cost to taxpayers.

This bond measure includes improvements at every District school. In addition, we were able to increase the amount of money we can borrow while lowering the cost to individual taxpayers when compared to 2013’s failed proposal. That means more money for basic building improvements that protect the community’s investment in its schools. 

This bond also focuses on the projects the community told us they want: improving existing schools to prolong their useful lives through projects such as making security upgrades, replacing old, inefficient plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling equipment with energy-efficient systems that will save tens of thousands of dollars in annual operating costs – making more money available for the classroom.

Our community also strongly supported the replacement of Hamlin Middle School with a modern efficient learning environment that would save money on operating costs, especially if the cost of replacement was lower than renovating the current building.

How much will District taxpayers pay for this bond measure?

District taxpayers will pay less for the 2014 bond than they would have if the 2013 bond had been approved. The new bond will raise $71.5 million for school construction projects to improve the learning environment, make the buildings safer and save money on operating costs.

If approved, the new bond will cost an estimated additional 27 cents per thousand of assessed value. For a home assessed at $140,000, the increase of 27 cents per thousand equals $38 per year, or $3.17 per month.

Three factors helped reduce the cost of the 2014 bond: an increase in assessed value of property in the District; the expiration (pay-off) of the 1994 school bond that built Agnes Stewart Middle School and Mt. Vernon and Riverbend elementary schools; and changing the length of t

Did a bond measure expire?

Yes. The 1994 bond measure that built Agnes Stewart Middle School and Riverbend and Mt. Vernon elementary schools was completely paid off in October 2014. This leaves only the 2006 bond that built Maple and Thurston elementary schools and the new bond measure on the tax rolls.

How was the bond developed? Who decided what is included and how much it will cost?

Ultimately, the School Board decides what to include in a bond measure. In this case, it relied heavily on community input to make that decision. The community-led Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) provided recommendations to the School Board after learning about the issues in each building. The School Board also surveyed the community to find out more about community-wide priorities.

Using the survey results and the FAC recommendations, the School Board created the bond proposal to address as many of the most serious issues as possible while keeping the overall cost to taxpayers as low as possible.

For more information about the work of the community-led Facilities Advisory Committee, click here.

Why replace Hamlin Middle School rather than renovate?

Last year, voters asked about the cost to renovate rather than replace Hamlin Middle School. In order to answer that question, the School Board commissioned an independent review of the cost of renovating vs. replacing Hamlin. The review found that we could save more than $10 million by replacing Hamlin with a modern, efficient learning environment, creating a safer, more energy-efficient building that can save thousands of dollars in annual operating costs.

Would the current Hamlin Middle School be demolished?

Yes. If the school is replaced, the new Hamlin would be built behind the current school (about where Moffitt Elementary was located). This would allow students to continue attending school at Hamlin uninterrupted by construction. Once the new building is complete, the current Hamlin would be demolished.

How will all Springfield schools benefit from the bond?

All District schools will receive upgrades and improvements such as modernizing mechanical systems to increase energy efficiency and save money on operating costs, safety improvements to help better protect students and staff, and updating classroom technology to better provide students with the opportunity to gain skills that improve their prospects in the job market. For a complete list of project to be funded with the proposed bond, click here. For a school-by-school list of projects, click here.

Are there things that bond funding can’t buy?

Yes. Bond funds can’t be used to pay for ongoing operating costs, such as utilities and consumable supplies. Bond funds also cannot be used to pay for staff unless that person is only working on bond projects. For example, bond funds can’t put a teacher in a classroom, but can pay for a temporary project manager to oversee construction projects related to the bond.

Bond funds are kept in a separate account and do not get mixed with the District’s general operating funds.

Is it okay to buy technology with bond funds?

Yes. Oregon law allows school Districts to include technology, textbooks and classroom equipment used in facilities in bond costs.

How is it possible to use a 25-year bond and to pay for technology?

The rules for this type of funding require that the combined projects funded with the bond must outlast the payoff period. The replacement of Hamlin and the new classrooms at other schools, which make up most of the bond cost, will long outlive the 25 years covered by Measure 20-226.

Technology is a smaller part of the bond proposal and much of the technology infrastructure included in the proposal has an expected lifespan of 10 or more years. Technology devices (computers, projectors, etc.) have an expected lifespan of about 5 years, but their purchase will be spread over a 6-year period for a total effect that lasts an estimated 11 years. When all the elements are combined (infrastructure, security, technology, etc.), the total financial “weight” of all projects together will last longer than the 25-year payoff period.

How will the District keep families and community members informed about how the bond money is spent?

The School Board will appoint a citizen’s advisory committee to oversee the spending to ensure that the bond money is spent properly and responsibly. The District will also work to keep the community informed of how bond money is spent through its annual Facilities Update and through its website, school newsletters, events, tours, local media and other opportunities that arise.

How can I share my feedback or questions with the School District and Board?

You may email any questions or feedback to bond@springfield.k12.or.us. The District’s communications specialist, Devon Ashbridge, may also be reached by phone at 541-747-3331.

 

Last Updated: November 12, 2014 

 

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