Roseburg School District board members met Wednesday, with a bulk of the meeting focused on a proposed bond similar to the one that failed in 2020.
The Community Bond Development Committee, which formed to include community input during the process, spoke candidly to board members about the long-term benefits this could have for the city as a whole.
“It really is an investment in Roseburg children as well as an investment in the community,” said Aric Groshong, a committee board member and longtime Roseburg resident.
The investment will incentivize professionals to move to the area who are extremely interested in what the school system looks like, he said.
Lance Colley, a community member on the committee, echoed Groshong’s comments when discussing the possibility of enticing companies to the area for future economic development.
“It was always easy to say that we had great educators,” Colley said. “It was not as easy to say that we have great facilities.”
Colley and other committee members said they hope this will change if the bond earns approval.
During a poll conducted in October with 400 respondents, 66% said they were somewhat or very satisfied with the quality of education in the district. Colley said while this highlights educators and administration the results don’t “speak to the buildings.”
“As many of you are aware our HVAC systems are a bit archaic and in most cases, we don’t have any air conditioning,” Colley said.
The October poll also indicated most people supported the highest bond amount of $154 million over lower-cost options — with the three areas garnering the most support including health and safety, energy efficiency and accessibility.
Over the last six meetings, the committee found that facilities across the district need more than $300 million for critical renovations and upgrades. The committee proposed opting for $154 million in investments to work toward areas with the highest priority. Based on current assessed values, the bond rate is estimated to create a tax of $1.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Of the proposed amount, 39% would go toward improvements in health, security and safety. This would include adding new generators at 11 schools and improvements to school playgrounds, middle school track replacements and new synthetic turf fields. Another 23% would make improvements to buildings systems, which would add HVAC systems where needed. The last 38% would improve educational facilities at all elementary and middle schools, along with other investments.
The last attempt for a bond, which took place at the height of the pandemic in 2020, failed to pass. It’s been 21 years since the last bond was approved by voters in 2000. That $23.9 million general obligation bond went toward major construction efforts directed mostly at Roseburg High School.