New Harbor Lights Middle School covered play area

The new Harbor Lights Middle School covered play area behind the school on Eighth Street SW is almost complete. 

BANDON — The Bandon School District will ask voters in the Nov. 4 election to approve a $4 million general obligation bond to construct, renovate, repair and improve district facilties.

The School Board unanimously approved putting the bond measure on the ballot at a special meeting Thursday. At a discussion during a meeting earlier last week, the board debated whether November was the best time to ask voters to approve additional taxes, given the presidential election and during the COVID-19 pandemic that is forcing the district to implement a Comprehensive Distance Learning model for at least the first nine weeks of the school year. 

But after Bandon Schools Superintendent Doug Ardiana discovered that the district would only be eligible for a state matching grant of $4 million if the bond is approved in November, the board decided to proceed. If the bond isn't approved, the district would have to wait until November 2021 to ask voters for approval and to be eligible for the $4 million match from the state. 

"I was under the assumption that we had the choice to run the bond in either May or November," Ardiana said after last Monday's meeting. 

The 10-year tax levy for the bond would cost property owners in the greater Bandon School District .000441807 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. For example, on a $200,000 house, the increase would be $88.33 per year, or $7.36 per month. 

The district will receive the $4 million state grant only if the bond is approved. The Bond and grant funds are expected to finance capital costs, including:

• Building and security improvements;

• Construction of a bus barn (currently, buses are too long to be parking fully inside the bus barn and there isn't enough space for all the buses. In addition, the structure itself is in need of replacement);

• Lighting and HVAC upgrades throught the district;

• Restoration and replacement of roofing at Ocean Crest Elementary, Harbor Lights Middle School, Bandon High School and the district office;

• Track resurfacing and fencing replacement; and

• Site improvements, furnishing and equipment and bond issuance costs.

The district would establish a citizen oversight committee to ensure proceeds are used for the purposes indicated. 

The bonds would mature in not-to-exceed 11 years from issuance and may be issued in series. 

The last time the Bandon School District asked voters to approve a bond was in May, 2001. After seeing a $1.68 million bond proposal fail by 700 votes in the November 2000 election, proponents returned with a $1.5 million proposal. The measure passed in May with a margin of just over 2%. 

That nine-year bond funded construction of an eight-lane track and new sports grandstand, a multipurpose football and soccer field that allowed the district to once again host track meets, locker rooms for boys and girls, a weight room, softball and baseball fields, lighting, a practice field and a covered play area and revised student pick-up area at Ocean Crest. 

That bond was extended again in 2010 at the same tax rate property owners were already paying, but has since expired.

Over the next couple of months, the School District will be providing the public with more specifics of why the bond is needed and what would be done with the funds if voters approve the measure in November. Any questions can be directed to Ardiana at dardiana@bandon.k12.or.us or by calling the district office at 541-347-4411.

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