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School bond measure deserves support

The Hillsboro School District needs our support.

This week, ballots will go out in the mail for the Nov. 5 general election, and a general obligation bond for the school district — Measure 34-206 — will be on the ballot.

If approved, the measure would authorize a five-year, $25 million bond that would support the purchase of new instructional technology equipment, safety enhancements and maintenance of school buildings around the district.

This is not just a Hillsboro issue: the Hillsboro School District includes Free Orchards Elementary School in Cornelius.

The revenue raised by the bond would go to pay for upgrades in three primary categories: computers, projection equipment and electronic devices to be used by students and staff; safety enhancements including security cameras, interior locking doors, card-key access and line of sight improvements at the district’s schools; and maintenance of school facilities including seismic upgrades and replacement of roofs.

To cover the costs of these improvements, property owners within the school district would pay approximately 42 cents per $1,000 of assessed value each year through 2018. That translates into about $84 per year for a home valued at $200,000.

We strongly believe it would be money very well spent.

The Hillsboro School District is the fourth-largest in Oregon. It serves about 20,000 students in 36 schools. Yet in recent years, the district — like many others across Oregon — has fallen on some hard financial times. Since 2008, the district reports it has had to cut roughly $70 million from the district’s general fund budget because of a continuing gap between revenue and expenses. Needed investments in infrastructure and equipment have been put aside because there have simply not been enough financial resources to pay for them.

It’s time to reverse that unfortunate trend.

School officials point out that this bond measure is the smallest bond the district has asked voters to support and, at five years, it also has the shortest repayment terms.

The school district is not looking for anything excessive here. On the contrary. This bond would be used to tackle some of the district’s most pressing needs. Further, the Hillsboro School District — although it has been facing budget shortfalls for several years — has not asked voters to step up and support a bond measure since 2006. In that year, local voters approved a $169 million construction bond, thereby allowing the school district to build several new schools: Free Orchards, Rosedale, Lincoln Street and Quatama elementary schools and South Meadows Middle School; expand three other middle schools to accommodate approximately 1,000 more students; and complete a variety of smaller improvement projects at the district’s other schools.

The school district has not asked the public for financial help with all that much over the years, and that is all the more reason voters need to step up and offer a helping hand now. In the long run, there is little that is more important than providing a solid and well-rounded education for our kids.

Please vote “Yes” to support this crucial ballot measure.




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