Slightly over half of the people surveyed on behalf of Roseburg Public Schools indicated support for a $94 million bond measure, according to a report presented to the school board Wednesday by Melissa Martin of Nelson Report.
Martin pointed out that 54% of voters approve a bond. Nelson Report, a public opinion research company, polled 378 people, all of whom have voted in at least three in the past four elections in Douglas County.
People surveyed also ranked projects from high priority to low priority. Safety and security, energy upgrades and improved heating and air conditioning systems, and district-wide upgrades were the top three choices by voters.
Roseburg school board members wanted to know how voters would feel about renovating or rebuilding the Heritage building at Roseburg High School, which was the original school built on the site in the 1920s.
“I think we need to be wise and careful with that stewardship of putting our students first, even above public opinion sometimes,” board member Rebecca Larson said. “We want to be wise with taxpayer funds always. I think (Chief Operations Officer Cheryl Northam) did a really good job of helping us be wise stewards, but I think we also have an incredible responsibility to our kids.”
In the priority list, rebuilding the Heritage building was the lowest priority, with 40% of voters in favor of the project.
“I’m not saying that it’s a nonstarter,” Martin said. “There is some ambiguity here regarding this particular component. So proceed, but proceed with caution. There is a potential road to be successful with a rebuild of Heritage if that’s what the board decides to do, but that will require a good deal of additional education in the community and it is a calculated risk.”
Board chair Joe Garcia noted that more than half of the voters were in favor of the bond without knowing the details of the bond.
When given a choice, 43% of voters would renovate where 30% would rebuild. The remaining voters answered either, neither, not sure, or gave another answer.
The school board will continue discussions on the Heritage building at a later meeting.
During Wednesday’s school board meeting, the board also adopted new policies on commercial advertising and public solicitation.
The next board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 29 at Sunnyslope Elementary School.