OSD: Board takes a step back, decides to wait for Aug. 25 to vote on referendum

By: 
Scott De Laruelle

Taking a step back during a special meeting where they could have set in motion a set of referenda to be voted on Nov. 4 , the Oregon School Board decided Tuesday to wait on approving the measures.

Citing a need for more information and input, the board will take up the potential referenda again during its regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 25.

Board members are considering three separate referenda. One would allow the district to issue up to $54.6 million in general obligation bonds for building improvements; another would allow the district to exceed its revenue limit $300,000 on a recurring basis to cover operational expenses from the capital improvements; the last would authorize the district budget to exceed the revenue limit by $3.5 million on a recurring basis for educational staff compensation.

Capital projects include additions and renovations to the high school, middle school and all three elementary schools, as well as technology improvements, HVAC upgrades at the district swimming pool, storm water measures and Jaycee Park East site improvements.

According to a district handout, the “conservative” tax impact of approving all three would be around $365 for the owner of a $150,000 home, though two of the referenda are recurring, and would extend beyond this year.

In February 2012, voters soundly defeated two referenda – one to borrow $33 million for upgrades to the high school, middle school and athletic fields, and one to allow the district to exceed revenue caps by $150,000 a year to operate new facilities.

For more on this story, check back after next week's meeting at ConnectFitchburg.com.

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