Rainier voters will be asked in the May 16 Special Election to approve a $49.4 million bond project for the Rainier School District.
Rainier School District residents have not passed a school bond since the one that built the current campus in 1978, according to information on the district’s website. Rainier school district has been in facility planning since Spring of 2021.
What the bond will fund
The critical needs list has been pared down to the following:
• New Elementary School
• Building Exteriors (siding, doors, windows, and roofs)
• Mechanical System Upgrades (ventilation, heating and controls)
• Fire Alarm System Replacement
• Site Improvements (safety and parking)
• Expanded Shop Spaces for Trades Instruction
• Security Upgrades (entry vestibules, cameras, and access controls)
• HPE Renovations (junior high and support programs)
• Remove all portable buildings
The Rainier School Board voted during its January public session to seek voter approval for the capital bond. Superintendent Joseph Hattrick said the decision was the culmination of 18-months of work and study to determine the need.
If passed, the 30-year bond would include a $4 million grant from the state.
“The Rainier School District is planning to use the bond if passed at our current location,” Hattrick said. “The bond is seeking to build an elementary school which would address many of the challenges the district is facing. Currently students in preschool, some of our special education classes, and sixth grade do not fit in Hudson Park Elementary School (HPE), so building a new elementary would provide a safe space for all students.”
Hattrick said by adding a new building, the current HPE would be repurposed to house the middle school and North Columbia Academy, as well as other district programs.
“This will also have the benefit of freeing up necessary space in the high school, he said. “Additionally, a variety of campus improvements would be made that will improve safety, mechanical systems, CTE programming, access, and site improvements.”
By the numbers
According to information presented at the district’s website, the estimated tax rate is $2.60 per thousand dollars of assessed home value (down from initial estimates of $2.99). This is against county assessed value and is lower than appraised, or market, value. For example, the average assessed value outside city limits is about $148,000 and would equate to roughly $32 per month. The average assessed value in-town is about $207,000 and would equate to just under $45 per month. Each property is different, and voters are encouraged to contact the county to identify their own assessed value.
Hattrick said he also wants the community to fully understand the need for the project.
“As the community considers the bond, we would ask that members of the community reach out to a school board member or superintendent to ask any questions, attend one of our information sessions, review the information on the district website, and research what the bond would mean for their individual situation,” Hattrick said. “We are all happy to help community members enter into this decision with all of the facts and to make an informed decision for themselves.”
For more information, visit the Rainier School District website, or call 503-556-3777. Follow this developing story at thechiefnews.com. and in the Friday print editions of The Chief.
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