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Roseburg Public Schools Superintendent Jared Cordon stands before a handmade quilt presented to him by former students on display at his Roseburg office on Wednesday.

The pride I feel for the people of our community cannot be overstated, and despite the challenges and difficulties as a result of COVID-19, our community has responded with strength and grace. Our parents, students, teachers and staff have shown persistence, resilience, creativity, teamwork and passion as we have adjusted to meeting the academic, social and emotional needs of our kids and families.

Albert Einstein wisely stated that, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” I am grateful for so many in our community that have found opportunities to serve and support one another during this unprecedented time. Voters in the Roseburg school district are being asked to consider a unique opportunity to ensure our kids have a safe place to learn and our teachers have a great place to teach in Measure 10-173. This bond levy will make critical improvements and repairs, strengthening safety and security systems and vocational education, adding indoor air quality, heating and cooling systems, as well as technology infrastructure at every school in the district.

This proposal would also include dedicated gymnasium space at five elementary schools that would be open to the community as emergency shelters, and replacement of the Heritage (Old Main) building, built in the 1920s at the high school.

Based on the economic concerns of recent events, if approved, the sale of bonds to complete these projects will be delayed so taxpayers will not see an increase in their taxes until November 2021. This adjustment gives the economy approximately 18 months to recover, as well as a welcomed reprieve to taxpayers for the same amount of time. This opportunity, with creative thinking by the school board, reinforces the idea that “there is nothing more expensive than a missed opportunity.”

The Roseburg school board has identified $99.8 million in proposed projects. The current proposal includes a “matching” grant from the State of Oregon for $5.88 million. If the measure passes, taxpayers would pay $94 million over 20 years.

If the levy passes, the projects identified by the Roseburg school board are:

  • Safety and security improvements district-wide, including controlled school entrances, automatic door locks, security cameras, and communication systems.
  • Renovations district-wide, including improving indoor air quality, replacing roofs, paint, siding, plumbing, and other capital repairs.
  • Energy-saving projects at every school, such as heating and ventilation systems, and upgraded electrical systems, for consistent learning environments during both warm and cold weather months.
  • New multi-purpose gymnasiums located at five elementary schools across the district that would also serve as community emergency shelters.
  • Infrastructure upgrades such as wiring, cabling and wireless access points throughout the district so students and staff have improved access to technology.
  • Rebuilding the Heritage (Old Main) building at the high school with the latest security and safety standards, meeting all the new building codes including seismic and fire codes and provide additional classroom space and vocational opportunities for high school students.

It is human nature, in the midst of a dilemma, to focus on the short term, yet great effort has been made for this long-term project of vision and optimism, once again proudly demonstrating the strength and grace of our community.

For more information about Measure 10-173, visit https://www.roseburg.k12.or.us/ or https://www.voteyesforroseburgschools.com/.

Jared Cordon is the superintendent of Roseburg Public Schools.

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