Community bond forums

Redmond School District is hosting a few meetings to inform the community about what could be paid for with a potential school bond. The meetings will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. over the next few weeks at four locations:

• Oct. 23: Terrebonne Community School, 1199 B Ave., Terrebonne

• Oct. 30: Lynch Elementary School, 1314 SW Kalama Ave., Redmond

• Nov. 1: Redmond High School, 675 SW Rimrock Way, Redmond

• Nov. 6: Tumalo Community School, 19835 Second St., Bend

With about $90 million in deferred maintenance, the Redmond School District may ask voters to approve a bond to help pay for it.

The district will host a series of forums over the next few weeks to inform the community about its needs, but a general maintenance bond is a long way from reality. Staff would have to recommend the bond to the school board; the board would have to approve it for a ballot, and then voters would have to pass the bond in an election.

Because the idea of the potential bond is still in its early stages, the school district hasn’t decided how much it might ask for. An assessment of the district facilities identified the $90 million in deferred maintenance though, according to Rainier Butler, Redmond School District’s public information officer.

Redmond School District stretches from Crooked River Ranch in Jefferson County in the north to Alfalfa in Deschutes County in the southeast.

The school district’s last bond — $110 million — passed May 20, 2008, with 58.8 percent approval and paid for Ridgeview High School, Sage Elementary School and an extensive remodel of Redmond High School, Butler said.

The bond the school district is considering now wouldn’t build new schools, but pay for needed maintenance, Butler said — “everything from old, corroded piping to busted up curbs.”

Superintendent Mike McIntosh will likely lead the community forums on the potential bond, scheduled to take place on four dates at four schools spread throughout the district.

Butler said the district has been gearing up for discussing a potential bond.

Last month Redmond School District put out a telephone survey to gauge community support. While the last bond passed with high support, that hasn’t always been the case in Redmond School District, Butler said. A 2004 school bond took two attempts to be approved.

“Historically in the past it can take one more pass to get bonds approved,” Butler said.

But that’s part of why the 2008 bond was a triumph for Redmond School District.

“It really is a success story,” Butler said of that bond.

Unanticipated low building costs during the Great Recession allowed the district to do more with the 2008 bond money than expected, Butler said.

Now, the district realizes the community may want to be reminded of what that bond money did for the district.

“A natural question is, ‘2008 wasn’t that long ago, what did you do with that?’” Butler said. “We were good stewards of that bond, and we want to remind people what it paid for.”

While the upcoming meetings will be informative, there will also be an opportunity for feedback from attendees, Butler said.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325, kfisicaro@bendbulletin.com

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