What is a school maintenance bond?
A school bond is like a home mortgage with principal and interest to be paid off over a set period of time. School districts in Oregon use bonds to finance school construction, building improvements and preservation of facility assets.
Why a proposed bond now?
Schools require occasional large maintenance projects that exceed the operating budget and are above and beyond regular maintenance work. This bond would address projects such as roof replacements, air quality upgrades and safety/security upgrades to protect the community’s investment in our schools.
Also, if the voters approve this November 2020 Bond Measure, Redmond School District will receive $7.6 million in matching grant funds from the state. The District and its taxpayers will not be responsible for repaying these funds.
Why should I continue to pay for schools if I don’t have any kids in school?
The way schools are financed in Oregon is on a “pay it forward” model. If you ever had kids in school or were a public school student yourself, people before you paid for the schools you and/or your child(ren) attended. Similarly, the current residents of the Redmond School District help pay for the schools we have now and those we build and improve in the future throughout the time they live here. As new residents move into the district’s attendance area, they assume these taxes as well. Regardless of where you live in Oregon, you will be paying for the schools in that area.
We believe investment in public education is a sound one. Great schools increase property values and safe schools help ensure safe neighborhoods. Young people are our future workforce, homeowners and taxpayers. Their education prepares them for that next step into adulthood, and the stronger their foundation the better their outcomes.
Is overcrowding an issue?
The City of Redmond data shows that over the next 20 years, Redmond is expected to grow by 2.5 new residents per day. Future home building activity and population growth in certain neighborhoods is expected to outgrow the capacity of some schools.
If the proposed measure passes, the school district would build six additional classrooms at both Vern Patrick Elementary and Tom McCall Elementary to expand capacity for future population growth.
Does the state provide funding for school construction bonds?
No. The Oregon Department of Education does not provide funding for school construction or major renovation. It does, however, provide the dollars that we utilize to deliver instruction to students and operate.
Oregon’s school funding model is somewhat unique. The legislature allocates dollars each year for teaching and learning, but construction of new schools and the modernization and preservation of existing schools is the responsibility of the local community. Funds for capital construction can be raised through elections and the support of community members for local tax levies.
Oregon is one of the few states in the nation that does not provide direct funding support from the state for building schools or major capital renovations. School districts are expected to finance these projects with general obligation bonds (construction bonds) authorized by thedistrict’s local voters.
Aren’t schools already receiving money from the marijuana tax?
Yes, schools do receive 40 percent of the eligible tax revenues from marijuana sales. The legislature included an estimate of marijuana revenues in the $8.2 billion State School Fund allocation for the 2017-19 biennium, so the revenues currently being distributed do not represent “new” money – it is money that was anticipated.
The Marijuana Tax revenue for schools is distributed through the State School Fund on a weighted per-student basis. Redmond School District students are approximately 1.24% of the total number of weighted students statewide, so we receive a proportional amount of any money allocated to the State School Fund.
Approximately $85 million in Marijuana Tax revenues is being distributed this fall, $34 million of which is going to the State School Fund. Our portion of that is approximately $560,000, and that was already included in our General Fund budget for the 2017-18 school year.
If Marijuana Tax revenue comes in above projections, the legislature has the discretion as to how these additional funds will be allocated. They could choose to use the same formula used to allocate the projected revenue, which is 40 percent to the State School Fund; 20 percent to Mental Health, Alcoholism and Drug Services; 15 percent to the Oregon State Police; 5 percent to the Oregon Health Authority; 10 percent to Cities; and 10 percent to Counties. Or they could choose a separate allocation method, or not to allocate additional revenues and instead put the money in reserves.
It is important to note that the State School Fund revenue, which includes the marijuana tax revenue, is used to fund the district’s teaching and learning operations and is not sufficient to fund large facilities projects.
Is Redmond School District missing out on tax dollars due to no marijuana dispensaries in Redmond?
No. Whether or not Redmond allows dispensaries, any dollars collected from the marijuana tax go directly to the State School Fund from which all schools in Oregon receive a portion of the proceeds.
Can construction bond dollars be used to hire more teachers and staff?
No. By law, bond money cannot be used for salaries or other daily operating expenses. These dollars can only be used for capital construction.
What are some possible projects if the bond passes?
Our long-range facility plan includes a variety of possible maintenance, preservation and safety/security projects the district would pursue with a successful 2020 bond campaign.