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Voters easily approve Bethel school bond

The money will be used to replace Cascade Middle School and to make other improvements.

Posted: Nov 3, 2020 10:04 PM
Updated: Nov 4, 2020 4:31 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Voters overwhelmingly approved a construction bond measure for the Bethel School District on Tuesday night.

The measure passed 66-34 percent in unofficial results.

The district has had a long list of improvements they're hoping to make for years now, and that wish list will be granted with the $99.3 million bond.

The largest item on their wish list is replacing Cascade Middle School, which was built in 1955. Other improvements would include new computers, a vocational education center at Willamette High School, and better security.

Officials said the bond wouldn't add to property taxes.

"(Cascade Middle School) has serious problems with the electrical, with the plumbing, with the mechanical, with the heating and air conditioning. And it's a wiser use of dollars to replace the building," said Pat McGillivray, spokesman for the district. 

Kristen Dufek, who has been leading the campaign for the Bethel bond measure, said even though schools have not been hosting students in person at this point, the bond money would make a huge difference in helping students even from afar.

"The coronavirus impact is not forever. But the changes that we can make now will be affecting students for 30, 40, 50 years as we move forward. This school right here being rebuilt is going to impact those kids for decades to come. Not just one or two years, but decades. There's a lot of things that these children need right now if you just take a look at the technology in the textbooks, those are needs that our children have right now, even in a distance learning situation," Dufek said. 

McGillivray said the last Bethel bond passed eight years ago won with 73% of the vote.

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