Banks School District, COMMUNITY, News

Banks School District to hold bond info meeting

Editor’s note: This is the first of several stories regarding the school bond. For our next story, we’ll dive further into the projects that the district plans to tackle if the bond passes in May.

Voters in the Banks School District will be faced with many decisions on their May 21 ballot, and one of the choices before voters will be a bond to fund a number of projects to address aging infrastructure in the Banks School District.

Chief among the list of proposed projects is the construction of a new two-story building to replace most of the learning space at the existing high school.

While not a full replacement of the Banks High School, new construction would replace “most of the high school,” the language submitted to the Washington County Election Division reads.

For most property owners in the district, which includes the city of Banks and communities like Timber, Buxton, Manning, Hayward and portions of Roy, the impact to property taxes would see a rise from the existing $1.80 per $1000 of assessed value to an estimated $2.99 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Assessed value is set by a county assessor and is generally lower than what you might see a home sell for on, say, Zillow.

You can see you home’s assessed value on the county’s assessment and taxation web portal by visiting washcotax.co.washington.or.us. or reading your most recent property tax statement

The school district also built a comprehensive bond information page that includes project details, an FAQ, and a calculator to see what the impact of the tax would be to property owners.

In addition to building a new structure for the high school, bond money could go to a number of other projects

While the city—a different taxing entity with different elected officials than the Banks School District—is in the early process of eyeing two new developments that could grow the city of Banks, that’s not relevant to this bond, Banks School District Superintendent Brian Sica said in an interview with the Banks Post held in the district offices. Those offices, more than a century old, are also on the list of projects to be tackled.

“If we weren’t growing a single student, we would be doing this,” Sica said. In fact, Sica said, the amount of students entering the district at the kindergarten level is smaller than recent graduating classes. And while students entering the district from other sources like former homeschoolers and private school students. Coupled with falling birth rates in the U.S. and people having children later in life, the Banks School District isn’t growing significantly. Sica said that based on their current data, it’s believed that the size of the schools in the school district will be able to sustain them until at least 2040.

It’s not size, but age, and the associated rise in repair and maintenance costs that necessitate the need for a bond, he said.

“This is needed because frankly, these buildings are so old, you can’t maintain them any longer,” he said. “Maintenance is not increasing their life any longer,” he added, noting that they were essentially at the end of their lifespan.

And because the state of Oregon doesn’t fund capital projects when it comes to schools, it’s up to the local community to decide on this type of capital project, Sica said.

Meeting

The administration and school board from the Banks School District will hold a town hall meeting Thursday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss a bond that will appear on the ballot for district voters in May.

Scheduled to be held in the Banks High School cafeteria, the town hall will also feature optional facility tours after the town hall.

Click here to submit questions for the town hall meeting.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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