Douglas High School

A rendering of the proposed changes to Douglas High School by Soderstrom Architects. A $16 million bond levy to help the Winston-Dillard School District pay for upgrades to two existing buildings and construction of two new buildings was approved by voters.

The tax levy for the 20-year bond to improve Douglas High School will be lower than expected, according to the Winston-Dillard School District.

New estimates put the tax rate at $1.31 per $1,000 of assessed value for the first decade and $1.16 per $1,000 for the second decade, according to WDSD Business Manager Kim Shigley.

During the May election, the bond measure was estimated to cost taxpayers $1.39 per $1,000, which was already a decrease from the expiring bond.

WDSD Superintendent Kevin Miller said the goal from the beginning was to come up with a plan to replace the high school that wouldn’t increase the taxes.

“People here have tax fatigue,” Miller said, adding that Winston has one of the highest property taxes in the county.

Shigley said part of the reason the tax levy was lower is an upgraded bond credit rating.

The school district received an A1 bond credit rating, which will also lower interest rates. The A1 rating by Moody’s Investors Service represents the credit worthiness of the district’s bonds and a strong capacity to meet financial commitments.

Miller said the school board and district worked together to be fiscally conservative.

The district also purchased insurance on the bonds through Oregon’s School Bond Guaranty Program, which made them even more attractive to investors.

Winston-Dillard School District sold $16 million in general obligation bonds on Aug. 8 for $17.5 million. An additional state grant of $4 million means the district has $21.5 million to spend on renovating and rebuilding the school.

“It’ll be great for the community,” Miller said. “Long after I’m gone and retired, they’ll have a really nice facility up there they can enjoy for years.”

Last Wednesday, the school board finalized its contract with Integrity Management Solutions and approved the creation of an advisory committee to provide community member input and oversight of the project. Applications to be part of the advisory committee are due by noon Sept. 3.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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