OSD considers putting bond measure on election ballot - Tucson Local Media: News

OSD considers putting bond measure on election ballot

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Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 3:00 am

The Oracle School District Governing Board did not vote June 9 on whether to ask voters to approve a $15 million bond measure that would pay for needed facility improvements.

Deferring the issue for more discussion, the board is expected to vote on it during a special meeting Thursday, June 16 at 3 p.m.

If the board approves the measure, the district will ask voters to approve a property tax increase of 50 cents per $100 of the assessed value of their homes.

Superintendent Todd Kissick said the board opted to postpone an official vote after hearing public comments and reviewing the information presented.

Kissick said buildings for the district, which has about 480 students enrolled in preschool through eighth grades, were built between the 1930s and the 1950s.

“We are not suggesting building a brand new school, but we are looking at upgrades,” he said.

The needed improvements center on bringing aging facilities up to current building codes, and addressing larger classes being fit into small classrooms.

Classroom size is one issue to be discussed. Kissick estimated one eighth-grade class has about 35 students, which requires more space.

If the board approves the measure, the district will put the question to voters in either the November or the March election.

Kissick said the district understands the risk to putting the issue on the ballot given recent elections where school bond initiatives and budget override proposals were not approved.

“There is always a concern to ask voters. Bonds do pass at a higher rate than overrides,” said Kissick. “We believe the needs are there, but have to ask ourselves if the timing is right given the economy and other issues.”

After touring the facilities, Vince Leach, a SaddleBrooke resident, said there is no question that the district is in need of upgrades.

However, before approving a bond initiative, Leach said, he’d like the board to discuss more options on how to finance the needed improvements.

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