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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2004

Board eyes $45M issue for schools in Oregon

The Oregon board of education last night signaled its intention to ask voters to support a $45 million bond issue in November to renovate and enlarge its high school and other school buildings.

In a 5-0 vote, the board approved a resolution of necessity to submit the tax proposal to voters on Nov. 2.

The board will meet again at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to take final action on the measure. School officials estimate a 4.4-mill levy over 28 years will be needed to generate $45 million.

"I think the $45 million makes sure we get the job done and get the job done right and still be good stewards of the district's money," board member Steve Hornyak said.

The district's school buildings, including Clay High School, are all more than 40 years old. Most need renovations and expansion to accommodate current instructional requirements, school officials said.

Included in the plan is a proposal to replace Coy Elementary School, located next to an oil refinery tank yard. It would be built on land already owned by the district on Pickle Road.

The bond issue would pay for a 10-year program of building improvements estimated to cost $49 million. The board may use some permanent improvement tax revenue to cover the $4 million not generated by the bond issue. It also hopes local economic expansion would allow the district to capture some additional tax revenue.

Board members believe they have done a good job to winnow down costs of the building program.

Board president Eric Heintschel said the district's architect initially pitched improvements for Clay totaling $39 million. "We got them down to $22 million and we are getting pretty much what we wanted," he said.

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