In the coming days, residents living in the White Salmon Valley School District will receive a fact sheet/newsletter detailing the district’s capital bond renewal, which will be coming up for a vote on April 23.
“The White Salmon Valley School Board is asking the community to vote on a capital bond, which will support the creation of important school and community resources,” said Supt. Jerry Lewis.
The district’s existing bond will expire in 2020 and the district, recognizing projects exist, sees an opportunity to fund them without hurting the taxpayers of the school district.
One of the things that the district wants to make clear regarding this bond renewal and the projects it covers is that it comes at no in-creased cost to the taxpayers of White Salmon, Lewis noted.
The $7 million, 21-year renewal bond will fund all the recommended projects at a lower tax rate than in 2018 ($1.79 in 2019 and $1.83 in 2020 to 2037, as compared to $2.66 in 2018). The bond will stretch over 21 years, the maximum time allow-ed, to provide the lowest possible tax rate to citizens.
There are several projects that have been identified by WSVSD which will improve the overall health, safety and education of students in the district, as well as provide additional community gathering spaces.
The bond will help to build a school/community health and wellness center to serve both students and community members. It will offer mental health services and will have the potential to be a primary care facility in the future.
“The center can be a model for the development of similar student and community supports across the state,” said Lewis.
Bond proceeds will also go toward improvements to parking lot safety and traffic flow at the main school campus, which has been a long-term concern to both the School Board and parents. This will include the repair and resurfacing of the C Court parking lot.
Additions to the main campus, as well as to the campus at Hulan L. Whitson Elementary, are covered with this bond. This includes adding a two-classroom portable to the Columbia High School and covered play structures at Whitson and Wallace and Priscilla Steven-son Intermediate school.
The building of a multipurpose facility is covered by the bond as well.
“WSVSD does not currently have a space large enough for major school and community activities. Constructing a multipurpose facility will fulfill that longstanding need,” said Lewis.
The bond will also contribute to the upgrading of the HVAC system at the district office in Park Center, as well as the relocation of the district office to the main, lower part of the building once occupied by the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department.
“This space will provide important additional office and conference space not supported at its current location,” said Lewis.
The School District would consider leasing the office space it currently occupies.
Finally, the bond would also cover important classroom and campus security needs such as security cameras.
“A bond will allow for repairs to critical classroom heating systems, furniture and equipment needs, and additional bus cameras,” said Lewis.