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Bond Measure to Improve Bethel Schools

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EUGENE, Ore. — Local bond Measure 20-209 aims to fix up schools in the Bethel District with a $49.5 million bond.

Clear Lake Elementary School is one of 11 different schools in the district that administrators and staff say desperately need makeovers. The school, built in the 1950s, looks dated from the outside, has non-working windows, rusted pipes and dated textbooks.

There are dangerously close quarters in the science labs and Greg James, Shasta Middle School’s principal, says the computer labs are laughable to the students.

“They snicker at our computers. We came in for fall testing, and we realized that about 20 were no longer working,” said James.

There are also no security cameras and if students go into a lockdown, teachers have to lock the doors from the outside.

The bond measure would update and repair these issues and more at 11 schools in the district. Two of the post-World War II era schools–Fairfield and Malabon elementaries–would be replaced completely.

“Old, old schools that were designed to last 30 years that have now lasted 60,” said Brook Cottle, Friends of Bethel School’s Campaign Chair.

The district issued surveys to feel out public support on a bond for its schools and the results showed that residents also wanted more teachers.

“We really need more teachers in our classrooms; state law prohibits us from being able to do that. That funding comes through the state,” said Cottle.

The average homeowner will pay around $160 a year, which is 40 percent lower than what taxpayers were shelling out three years ago.

“This bond measure is about safety. It’s about making sure our students have the tools for success, and our community has been really supportive so far,” said Cottle.

Grassroots campaigning has Cottle and others putting their confidence in voters. The biggest thing that campaigners want voters to know is this measure will not increase your taxes.

2 comments

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  1. Mike says:

    OK OK Help me out here. This measure will NOT increase taxes? Then it states that it will cost the average homeowner $160 a year (But it wont increase taxes?). Then it states that its 40% lower than it was 3 years ago? (But it wont increase taxes?)
    C’Mon man !!!! Something tells me that the whole truth isn’t known yet!!!!
    I can’t believe that a 50 million dollar bond issue WONT increase taxes.

  2. Brooke Cottle says:

    Hi Mike,
    I can see why you are confused! I will do my best to explain. Taxpayers in Bethel were paying $2.60 per $1,000 of assessed valuation three years ago. That rate on old bonds has now come down to $1.61 per $1,000, so the difference between what taxpayers are paying today and three years ago is about 40% less. The new bond, if approved, will be at that same $1.61 rate, meaning no increase in the current tax rate. The new bond simply continues where the old bonds will leave off.Last year the district also refinanced its outstanding debt on those old bonds. That refinancing saved taxpayers $1.5 million and shortened the number of years on what remained of the old bonds. Does this help?

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