After more than a year of public comment and study, the Longview School Board will vote Monday on a $115 million bond plan to build two new elementary schools, add artificial turf at Memorial Stadium and undertake other large facilities projects.
The proposal before the board also would upgrade high school trades program classrooms, build safer entryways in all schools and provide for $9.4 million in building maintenance projects across the district.
According to the meeting agenda packet, the $115 million price tag for the projects is “contingent upon the completion of the soil study at Mint Valley Elementary.” Board members in February requested the district complete a soil study before officially filing for the bond measure, so as to dodge surprise increases in construction prices.
The move was inspired by other area projects — such as the Kelso School District facilities bond and the Oregon Way-Industrial Way intersection — that saw sharp increases in price due in part to the soft, sandy soils that underlie the Longview-Kelso area lowlands.
Even if the board approves the $115 million proposal, the district could still change the price of the bond plan if the soil study shows more stout building foundations are necessary. But the amount of the bond will need to be adjusted before the district files a resolution formally setting the bond election date, the board packet says.
The resolution, which outlines the details and capacity of the bond measure, must be approved by Aug. 6 for the bond to appear on the November general election ballot.
Issuing bonds is a form of a loan the district must pay back, with interest, through property taxes and other revenues, such as state grants. The district estimates the $115 million bond would cost the owner of a $200,000 home $184 and the owner of a $300,000 home $276 annually for 21 years.
The bond is the district’s second attempt in recent years to undertake a major facilities program. Voters narrowly turned down a $121.6 million plan in November 2017. Although it won majority approval, the measure fell just short of mustering the 60 percent supermajority needed to pass.
The new bond plan, while smaller, also contains a provision for sprucing up Memorial Stadium. The absence of that element has been cited as one reason the 2017 bond failed. The new bond plan also would benefit a wider array of schools than the 2017 measure.
Also Monday the school board will:
- Hear a presentation on the Cowlitz Indian Tribe Healing of the Canoe Program.
- Vote on revisions to district policies for releasing information about juvenile sex and kidnapping offenders enrolled in the district; managing student records; and notifying students, staff and community members about threats of violence and harm.
- Recognize the Mark Morris choir and band students who recently received honors.
The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Administrative Office on Lilac Street.