After months of discussion, Redmond voters will soon get to vote on a $70 million school district bond, which would replace the aging M.A. Lynch Elementary and add security and safety upgrades throughout the district.

A major aspect of the bond is rebuilding Lynch, which was built in 1965 and suffers from structural problems. The district’s website said Lynch was built “with lower quality construction,” and Superintendent Mike McIntosh noted that during heavy snowfalls, the school’s flat roof would sag. McIntosh told The Bulletin in January that rebuilding Lynch would cost $27 million.

The bond would also fund improvements.

It would allow the district to beef up security at many of the district’s schools by upgrading security camera systems, eliminating multiple entryways at middle and high schools, adding a secure lobby at each elementary school and replacing the district’s emergency communications system. The bond would also pay for LED lighting and energy-efficient windows throughout the district and modernization of classrooms with technology upgrades.

On Thursday, McIntosh said passing the bond is “urgent” to protect the district’s students.

“What we know about the condition of our schools is that they are not as safe from outside intruders as we would like them to be, and we can take steps to make them better,” he said.

If passed, the bond will cost homeowners in the 550-square-mile school district $9 per month for homes valued at $200,000.

In the Deschutes County Voter’s Pamphlet for the midterm elections, many prominent names have attached their names in support of the bond, including every Redmond city councilor and Mayor George Endicott, Deschutes County Commissioners Tammy Baney and Tony DeBone, two former Redmond mayors, Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, former speaker of the Oregon House and state Sen. Bev Clarno, the Redmond Education Association Board and businesses such as Eberhard’s Dairy Products.

One argument for the bond in the pamphlet was written by three high school students, one from Ridgeview High and two from Redmond High.

“We know these changes will make it harder for people to barge in and do harm,” the students wrote. “And we know that it will mean faster responses once there is a threat on campus.”

There were no arguments against the bond in the voter’s pamphlet.

McIntosh said his “confidence is high” that voters will pass the bond on Election Day.

After the school board unanimously agreed to put the bond on the November ballot in August, former Redmond Mayor Alan Unger said passing the bond was imperative to keeping Redmond’s students safe.

“I want us as a community to say we stepped up and we made sure that our buildings are safe … and we are doing what we need to do,” he said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7854, jhogan@bendbulletin.com

21338859