Didn't we already pass a bond?
Before the North Wasco County School District formed from a merger of two separate districts back in 2004, District 12 (see map) passed a bond in 2000 that funded construction of The Dalles Middle School. The 2000 bond is currently only serving half of the district's residents. The revenues from this bond alone are not enough to cover the construction costs for the needed safety and security improvements districtwide.
Don’t our taxes already pay for schools?
North Wasco County School District receives funding for teachers, administrators and programming through Oregon’s state taxes, as does every other school district in the state. These tax dollars can only be spent on staff. In Oregon, it’s up to the local community to invest their resources in new capital infrastructure like new buildings, computers and gymnasiums.
North Wasco County School District annually spends $44 million on education; the largest portion of the general fund revenue comes from the Oregon Department of Education. None of the existing revenue in the district’s budget can be spent on construction of capital improvements like new buildings.
Don't we have other sources of revenue? Why don't we instead use Oregon’s lottery funding or marijuana taxes?
In 2016, Oregon raised $60 million from marijuana taxes. The state government collects and distributes this funding across Oregon; even if every dollar of the tax was distributed to North Wasco, it represents only a quarter of the money necessary to build these improvements. four new schools and complete these crucial safety and security improvements districtwide. Similarly, annual revenue raised statewide by the Oregon Lottery is small compared to the cost for the needed for physical infrastructure improvements proposed in this bond.
What are the state of our school buildings?
Many of our school buildings are simply past their usable life spans. The North Wasco County School District was formed after the merger of two districts back in 2004. North Wasco has worked to maintain these facilities for over a decade, and hired a private management firm to contain costs and improve educational outcomes.