The Salem-Keizer School Board has approved a $619.2 million bond to be placed on the May 2018 ballot to potentially fund the proposed Long-Range Facilities Plan for Salem-Keizer School District. The Long-Range Facilities Plan is aimed at meeting schools’ long term needs in areas such as capacity and building safety. For South, these changes would constitute the demolition of the building’s oldest section-currently Howard Street Charter School-and expansion to satisfy increasing enrollment and meet seismic safety standards.
Under the current plan, South would gain twelve classrooms, two science labs, space for two career technical education [CTE] programs, one lab space, and a Special Education [SPED] LRC classroom. Already established spaces such as the Rose Theater, music rooms, and other general classrooms that would be demolished would also be replaced. Additional expansion and improvements would be made towards parking, maintenance such as plumbing and flooring, security systems, and technology upgrades.
Currently, the property tax levy rate is estimated to increase between $1.28 and $1.39 per thousand of assessed value in order to raise the nearly $620 million needed for the bond. In 2016, the cost of the drafted Long-Range Facilities Plan was nearly $766 million. After a Citizens Facilities Task Force reviewed the plan, concluding that a general obligation bond was the best means to fund the work, a survey was then used to determine the bond’s feasibility among Salem and Keizer residents. The results led to a revisement of the bond package in order to lower the cost and increase support. Revealed in May 2017, the smaller, revised bond package has not been finalized, and is still subject to change, but as the current bond package, is the basis for the package that will be on the ballot in 2018.$