It’s down to the wire for the 4J School Board of Directors to put their bond measure on the 2018 General Election ballot before the Aug. 17 deadline passes. After receiving community input, the school board will decide among four options of what the measure will look like.
At $385 million, the first option is the priciest. But it gets the most work done for the district, such as replacing North Eugene High School and Edison and Camas elementary schools. The bond would also fund a new elementary school in the Sheldon area.
With a line item of $150 million, North Eugene High School may appear fine for its age, but all versions of the bond measure show the board has prioritized replacing the school’s building, except the smaller $275 million bond. The smallest bond would only renovate the 60-year-old building — essentially a $90 million Band-Aid for a school that should instead see its rebirth to the modern age.
In one of the alternatives, the board is also considering a smaller North Eugene High School. However, the district’s projections show that the constructing a smaller building’s capacity for 1,000 students could be at capacity as soon as the 2021-2022 school year.
A new North Eugene High School building would be more than just a new place for students. It would ensure certain parts of the school are reinforced to endure natural disasters says Kerry Delft, associate director for communications at 4J. As North Eugene currently stands, since it was built in the late 1950s, it probably wouldn’t last long in a high magnitude earthquake. A new school would have certain parts that could withstand earthquakes, a needed improvement since the Cascadia earthquake is a ticking time bomb. That way, students would have a safe place to exit the school in case of danger and serve as a location for the recovery process.
Since the U.S. has a school-shooting problem, a new North Eugene High School would look into school safety. The new school would ensure that visitors must enter the school through the main office, instead of being able to sneak past administration into the hallways of the school.
Besides new and improved schools, a full $385 million bond would give needed financial support to bolster technology, curriculum and school buses. It would also inject $6 million into district-wide career technical education programs, the modern way of keeping school sexy for some students.
Sure, $385 million is the most Eugene has asked its voters for. But it’s small when considering Salem-Keizer School District’s $619.7 million, passed this year, or Hillsboro School District’s $408 million, which passed in 2017.
The 4-J School Board will make their decision on which version of the bond measure will make the ballot at 7 pm for their Wednesday, Aug. 15 board meeting at Eugene School District, located at 200 North Monroe Street