Proposed 4J bond would make schools safer, board says

The school board chair says it could also save taxpayers money in the long run.

Posted: Apr. 12, 2018 6:56 PM
Updated: Apr. 12, 2018 7:14 PM

EUGENE, Ore. — A proposed Eugene 4J school bond could make schools safer and more energy efficient, and save taxpayers money in the long run, according to the school board.

If the bond passes, the money would repair and replace existing structures, improve curriculum and make safety upgrades.

Eugene 4J school board chair Eileen Nittler said many of the buildings in the school district have been around since the end of World War II. She said they aren't built to current energy efficiency and safety standards.

"We're approaching this end of lifetime for a good number of our buildings right now,” Nittler said.

The school board met Wednesday night to discuss results from a community poll, which gauged voter support for the bond measure. Out of the 400 likely voters surveyed, the majority of people reported thinking the schools were in fair or poor condition.

Some of the immediate benefits, Nittler said, could come in the form of upgrades in students' textbooks and new technology being used in the classrooms.

In terms of safety improvements, Nittler mentioned new layouts for the schools. “Almost all of our schools would be a safer place to learn because we're going to be able to build them with a different model of having a foyer to go into versus just direct access to school…and some other safety-related upgrades. Which benefits students and staff,” she said.

Fifty-four percent of those polled favored a bond that would cost around $450 million.

Nittler said the bond will save taxpayers money in the long run by installing energy-efficient improvements, like solar panels.

"If we are to make our schools more energy efficient now by putting in better windows and better heating systems," she said. "Some of the new schools now have solar panels on the roof to capture solar energy. We're going to see long-term utility rate savings."

As of Thursday, the school board was still discussing what size of a bond measure they'd like on the ballot, along with what exact projects would be included.

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