Voters in the Bend-La Pine Schools district have a consistent track record of supporting bonds for the construction and maintenance of local schools. Recent bond funding has seen the construction of both a new elementary school and a new high school in Bend—projects that have helped a district with a steady stream of new residents keep pace and mitigate overcrowding. This next round of general obligation bonds seeks to both repair and maintain the assets BLPS already has, while also adding some safety features that, sadly, appear necessary in the U.S. in the 21st Century. Some of the $249.7 million in bond funds would be used to add door mechanisms to each classroom in the district, allowing those inside to confirm that a door is locked even while across the room. Other funds would go toward fire "life safety systems," as well as to repairs and maintenance of buildings. And while these bond funds would not fully cover the cost of getting Bend Senior High School's facilities up to par with the other high schools in the district, the funds would begin to replace some of the most dilapidated parts of Bend's oldest high school. These are projects that serve to address safety, and in the case of Bend High, equity in the district, and voters should support them.
Notably, with the expiration of older bonds in the district, this latest bond request would not raise the tax rate for property owners within the tax district—another reason why voters should have no problem saying "yes." Educators in our schools have consistently faced tremendous division within the community and dealt with numerous challenges over the past few years. Not supporting this essential bond measure should not be one of the challenges they should have to face going forward. Vote yes on Measure 9-155 Administrative School District No. 1 (Bend-La Pine Schools) - Bonds for Safety Improvements, School Renovations and Preservation of Facilities.