Why propose a bond? Why now?
In 2016, voters passed a bond to renovate Clara Brownell Middle School and update systems, replace roofing, and provide secure entry vestibules in each building. The estimated cost to voters upon approval was $3.133 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Due to the growth in the community since 2016, voters are currently paying $0.93 per $1,000 of assessed property value for school related bonds instead of the previously passed $3.133 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Community growth allowed for the reduction in costs to individual tax payers; however, it also has an impact on schools as more students are enrolling and expected to enroll.
The City of Umatilla estimates another 1,500 homes will be built in Umatilla over the next ten years, resulting in an estimated student increase of 500 students. Our current schools lack the capacity to serve this growth without new construction.
If passed, the proposed bond would fund construction of the facility to prepare for the growth while also using the increased tax revenue from the expected community growth to drive down the cost per thousand of assessed property value for each taxpayer over time.
How was this plan developed?
A facility review was conducted by an outside agency to assess school district facilities, and a community group created a long-term facility plan for the District. They worked to develop a plan to address the current facilities and growth expectations based on City of Umatilla housing growth estimates. The full plan is available from the Umatilla District Office.
How will the public be informed of progress?
Should the voters pass the bond measure, the Umatilla School District would report progress on bond projects monthly to citizens as part of the regular school board meetings and would also provide periodic mailings and web updates with construction and renovation updates.
What would the proposed bond do?
If passed by voters, the $45.2 million bond funds would be increased with a $4 million grant from the Oregon School Facility Matching grant to provide:
A new 4-6 school building on South Hill including a full-sized gym and playing fields with room for expansion,
Renovations to convert McNary Heights Elementary to a K-3 building,
A new Career Technical Education building at Umatilla High School with room for expansion,
Renovations to the current shop space at Umatilla High to convert it into elective and classroom spaces for Clara Brownell Middle School,
Transition of Clara Brownell Middle School to a 7-8 building, and
Site projects, demolition, furnishings, equipment and bond issuance costs.
What are the detailed costs?
The proposed Umatilla School District projects total $49.2 million. The District has secured Oregon School Facility Matching dollars in the amount of $4 million to off-set the costs. If the voters pass the proposed $45.2 million bond the Umatilla School District will receive $4 million from the state.
$45.2 million proposed bond + $4 million matching grant = $49.2 million for proposed bond projects
What will the bond cost tax payers?
If passed, this bond measure will cost the property tax payer in Umatilla School District an average of $1.19 per $1,000 of assessed value. This would increase the assessed value of all District general obligation bonds to $2.12/$1,000 of assessed value which is $1.01/$1,000 of assessed value less than voters passed in 2016. A median assessed home valued at $137,900 would pay an estimated increase of $164.10 per year. Should the community continue to grow as expected, the $2.12 per $1,000 of assessed value will again reduce just as it did following the 2016 bond.
The City of Umatilla’s agreement for the new Amazon facilities requires them to make payments toward the proposed bond. This means that they will not only pay taxes for this proposed bond, but if their construction goes forward as currently planned, they will begin paying taxes in phases as each construction phase is completed which will reduce the proposed estimated bond amount from an additional $1.19 per $1000 of assessed value to a reduced amount of $0.712 per $1000 of assessed value in 2024. Over the life of the bonds, the average levy rate drops from an estimated $1.76 per $1,000 of assessed value to $0.60 per $1,000 of assessed value. To view the full analysis, visit the estimate page here.
What if the proposed bond measure does not pass?
If voters do not pass the bond, the District will not receive the $4 million grant from the state, the projects will not be built and the taxes for the school district will not be increased.
Board members and Superintendent Sipe will offer Q&A sessions via Zoom and at the Umatilla School District office each Monday in October (2022) from 6 pm-7 pm for the community to view the proposals and ask any questions.
For more information, please contact:
Heidi Sipe, Superintendent
Umatilla School District