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Frequently Asked Questions
Gresham-Barlow School District
November 8, 2016 School Bond Measure

 
In June the Gresham-Barlow School Board voted to place a school bond on the November 8, 2016 ballot. This list of “Frequently Asked Questions” is designed to answer questions about the proposed school bond. More questions will be added to this F.A.Q. as the district receives them.

FAQ Categories:
-Bond Basics
-Academics
-Economic Impact on the Community
-Accountability
-Specifics, School-by-School
-Cost
-West Gresham Elementary School
-Miscellaneous
-Election Details

 

Bond Basics
 
What is the bond measure that the Gresham-Barlow School Board will place on the November 2016 ballot?
 
The proposed school bond would impact every school in the district. Projects include safety and security upgrades, improvements to technology infrastructure, updated vocational classrooms, expanded classrooms to relieve overcrowding, heating and cooling system upgrades, and roof replacements.
 
How will the school bond impact our schools?
 
Every school building in the district would be impacted by the school bond. Projects include safety and security upgrades, improvements to technology infrastructure, replacement of roofs, and heating and cooling system upgrades.
 
School improvements in the package would also allow the district to update its career technical education program, as well as its science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes that help prepare students for careers and college.
 
Major renovations would occur at Gresham High School and Sam Barlow High School. North Gresham and East Gresham Elementary Schools would be replaced. Classrooms would be added to Hall and Hollydale Elementary Schools. The school bond would include renovations to Deep Creek Elementary School so that it can become a K-8 school.
 
How much will the school bond cost?
 
The school bond would cost an estimated $1.89 per thousand of assessed value. According to Multnomah County, the average assessed value of a home in the school district is approximately $200,000. An individual with a home with an assessed value of $200,000 would pay an additional $31.50 a month.
 
What process led to the school board’s decision to place a bond measure on the November 2016 ballot?
 
In 2015-16 a Bond Measure Planning Committee made up of business leaders, community members, parents, teachers, school staff, and students met for eight months to review individual school needs and community input on the proposed projects. The committee recommended the school board place a school bond measure before the voters. The school board made some adjustments to the school bond package after a three-month public outreach effort. More than 1,000 staff members, parents, and community members shared their feedback during the process.
 
Can we use the bond to hire more educators?

No, but capital improvements funded by the school bond will allow us to put more money into the classrooms instead of those funds going to capital maintenance and construction.
 

Academics
 
How do the projects in the School Bond improve the education we are providing to our students?
 
Attendance is one of the greatest indicators of (factors in improving) student achievement and graduation (rates). Improvement to the conditions and health of our buildings is estimated to increase attendance by as much as 60%.  This is the result of a combined investment in ventilation, daylight, acoustics, and thermal comfort as supported by university research. 
 
School bond improvements that support collaboration spaces, hands-on learning, diversity of programs, and increased vocational-technical offerings provides greater relevance to students and increased incentive to attend.
 
 Source: “Linking Performance and Experience, An Analysis of Green Schools”, Institute for the Built Environment, Colorado State University 2014 Study

Economic Impact on the Community

University research indicates that the Gresham-Barlow community can expect that this school bond measure will increase housing values by as much as 6% each year over a 10-year period.*
 
The Bond will bring roughly 400 (construction) jobs per year to the Gresham-Barlow community assuming a 4-year construction.**
 
While this construction activity will have direct benefits in terms of income and state and local tax revenue, there will also be an indirect economic impact of up to seven times the estimated $194 million of construction expenses.  This spending goes to local contractors, suppliers, and rental agencies as well as local investment by wage earners on food, clothing, fuel, durables goods, and entertainment.
 
*The Value of School Facilities:  Evidence from a Dynamic Regression Continuity Design” by Stephanie Riegg Cellini; Ferreira; Rothstein, National Bureau of Economic Research
 
**Economic impact on jobs in community—Calculations based on Economic Impacts of Planned School Construction Projects, Rutgers University


Accountability
 

How will the community know that school bond funds will be spent as intended?
 
A citizen’s bond oversight committee charter will be prepared and approved by the School Board prior to receiving bond proceeds.  The oversight committee will provide accountability and feedback to the board and general public.
 

Specifics, school-by-school
 
How can I find out what projects will take place at each school?
School by school lists are located on the district website and school websites. You can access the lists here: School Specific Lists
 
When would construction begin on the school bond projects?
 
Some small and intermediate sized projects will begin in the spring of 2017.  Large projects like replacement schools and classroom additions will likely begin in the spring of 2018.
 

Cost
 
How much will the school bond cost?
 

The school bond would cost an estimated $1.89 per thousand of assessed value. According to Multnomah County, the average assessed value of a home in the school district is approximately $200,000. An individual with a home with an assessed value of $200,000 would pay an additional $31.50 a month.


Does the school district have a school bond retiring?

Yes, the school bond currently on the books will be paid off in 2021.
 
How long will it take to pay the proposed school bond off?
 
Approximately 20 years.

  
 West Gresham Elementary School
 
What will happen to the students (and educators) who attend West Gresham Elementary School?
 

The 2016 Bond Measure is built on the Bond Planning Committee’s recommendation that West Gresham Elementary School no longer be used as a regular school site. The passage of the bond would result in projects that add additional elementary student capacity at four of our 10 elementary schools. The completion of these projects would be coordinated with a phased closure of West Gresham. A process for adjusting district elementary attendance boundaries will be conducted in advance of the closure of West Gresham.
 
Prior to the closure, there will be some bond money spent on technology and safety improvements to meet short-term needs.

 
 What will happen to the building?
 
While West Gresham Elementary will no longer be used as a school, the District understands its importance as an asset to our community. Conversations have begun and will continue with Gresham community members, the city of Gresham and other entities interested in the future of the West Gresham site.
 
Plans for the formation of a community-wide process that would provide guidance for the future of the property are being considered. The primary goal of having broad input prior to any repurposing or sale of the property would be to maintain this historic property as an asset to the Gresham community.

 
Miscellaneous
 
Are their contingencies in place for capital maintenance if the school bond doesn’t pass?
 
There are no specific contingencies for capital maintenance if the school bond doesn’t pass.  An example of how the District would approach capital maintenance if the bond doesn’t pass is the Sam Barlow High School roof.  The roof is 48 years old and gets regular maintenance for leaks.  Since it has exceeded its useful life, if the bond doesn’t pass, the School Board must either use general fund operating dollars (which takes money away from classrooms and students) to fund the entire project all at once or issue debt and repay that debt from general fund operating dollars taking money out of the classroom to pay both the principal and interest on the debt.
 
How is this bond package different from the last one proposed in 2013?
 
The school district and school board worked to engage stakeholders from all walks of life in the development of the November 2016 school bond proposal. A Bond Measure Planning Committee made up of business leaders, community members, parents, teachers, school staff, and students met for eight months to review individual school needs and community input on the proposed projects. After receiving the recommendation, the school board went back out into the committee and presented the proposal during a three-month public outreach effort. More than 1,000 staff members, parents, and community members shared their feedback during the process. The end result is a plan created by the community for the community.
 
Unlike the 2013 bond proposal, the 2016 bond proposal features a more balanced distribution of construction projects for the district’s two large high schools.  Approximately 70% of Gresham High School would be replaced. If the bond passes, approximately 45% of Sam Barlow High School would be new or renovated.
 
The 2016 bond proposal includes the replacement of two elementary schools. The Bond Planning Committee recognized that it was fiscally prudent to replace old, worn out elementary schools rather than try and renovate them.
 
Has the district looked at public and private partnerships to take advantage of resources out there?
 
The district has experienced considerable success in leveraging available grant dollars to support the work of the district in preparing our students for success. Recent grant awards include $1.37 million from the Mount Hood Cable Regulatory Commission (MHCRC) in support of two K-3 technology programs at two elementary schools. This grant will prepare the way for the successful introduction of technology and instructional strategies. Our district was also awarded $1 million to advance a collaborative process with teachers that addresses career pathways for teachers, evaluation processes, and professional development. The district regularly looks to apply for grants that align with our mission and vision.

 
Election Details
 
When is the election?
 
The election is November 8, 2016. It is a vote by mail election.
However, you can only vote in the election if you are registered to vote prior to the election. The deadline to register to vote is October 18.
 
How do I register to vote?
 
To vote in the November 8, 2016 election you must register to vote prior to the election. The deadline to register is October 18.
 
Information on how to register to vote is on the Oregon Secretary of State’s webpage:
http://sos.oregon.gov/voting/Pages/voteinor.aspx

Do you have a question you do not see listed?

Email your questions to:
gbsd@gresham.k12.or.us
or call the district's community relations office at 503-261-4558.

 
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