COOS BAY — A Coos Bay school facilities bond measure will most likely be pushed back until controversy surrounding the district subsides.

Rocky Place, Coos Bay school board member and chair of the district's facilities committee, said the board will discuss the issue at its special meeting Monday.

"The last few facilities meetings have been canceled," said Coos Bay Education Association president Lynda Sanders at the Jan. 11 school board meeting. "I was wondering where we are with the facilities and the bond and all that kind of stuff, because it just seems like it's sort of been hush-hush and no information has been forthcoming."

Work has, in fact, slowed.

"There's no secret that there's been a lot of distractions for the district in the last six or seven months," Place said Tuesday of the months of handling a slew of complaints against district superintendent Dawn Granger. "That's what's caused me to be very reluctant to push forward with the bond.

"Until I feel comfortable that the community is with us, we're not going to push forward with the bond."

If the school board decides to go forward, they're on a relatively tight deadline. The district has until March 17 to submit a notice of measure election for a district for the May primary.

"But we have to bring on a bond attorney to help us write the blurb that actually goes on the bond," Place said. "We have a lot of things that need to be done. Could we do it if the board says march forward? Yeah, but it's a short timeline."

And there hasn't been enough public outreach, he said.

"No decision could be made as far as new or renovating existing until people have seen what a new facility looks like, what a renovated facility looks like, so we make the right decision for our community," Place said. "That means that field trip I talked about — and not just the board. I don't care so much about the board seeing them as I do community members.

"They need to see what it is their dollar would get."

The facilities committee also wants to plan meetings for the public to get more engaged with the process, and offer their ideas.

Not speaking as a board member, Place said he's reluctant to renovate.

"My personal feelings, based on my experience, is you still end up with an old facility when you renovate," he said. 

Possible delays now mean it could be 2017 before the district goes out for this bond. Southwestern Oregon Community College is tentatively planning on going out for a bond measure in the November election for its new Health and Science Technology building. Coos Bay doesn't want to compete with that, nor with a possible Coos Bay library bond measure.

Reporter Chelsea Davis can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 239, or by email at chelsea.davis@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @ChelseaLeeDavis.

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