After the Holiday Farm Fire, the McKenzie School District Board discouraged voters from passing a long-planned facilities bond. Now, the bond has been restructured for the May ballot.
The Board voted unanimously Wednesday to support a $15 million dollar, 25-year bond. The package would replace the 70-year-old elementary school and address concerns like a leaking gym roof. Aside from broken windows and smoke damage, the schools didn't suffer damage from the September fire. The targeted capital projects are the result of an assessment that began in September, 2019.
Tim Halloran chairs the McKenzie School Board. “We burned," he said. "I don’t have a home and we’re rebuilding. We’re living in an RV in the meantime and just going day by day like everybody else.”
Halloran said the board wanted to keep the cost of the bond below $2 dollars per thousand dollar property value, adding, "As the river rebuilds, then the property values will increase overall, thereby that cost per thousand should come down.”
Halloran said May is their last chance to secure a $4 million dollar OSCIM (Oregon School Capital Imrprovement Matching) grant from the state. If the bond doesn’t pass, they’d have to re-apply for the competitive program.
The bond only narrowly failed in November. Halloran is optimistic the community will vote to support the schools and the future of the McKenzie River area.