Your Beaverton school bond questions answered

Your Beaverton school bond questions answered »Play Video
Because of overcapacity at Westview High School, students were moved into this portable classroom. (Photo: Valerie Hurst/KATU News)

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Beaverton School District leaders say bond measure 34-219 on your May ballot is critical to kids' education across the district. But some of you want to know how the bond's different from the levy you just passed last year.

We took your concerns and questions to the district. District leaders suggested we meet at Westview High. It's a nice-looking school with large, bright hallways and common areas. But outside are eight portables set up in the back parking lot.

"It's loud it's noisy it's crowded," said school board member LeeAnn Larsen.

Larsen says four out of the five high schools are at or over capacity. It's the same for many elementary schools. And 5,600 more kids will enter the district next year.

"I know at one middle school, they race to get there so they can get in a desk," she told us.

The bond would pay for three new schools, and repair older buildings. A small part would go toward technology and security upgrades. Those are things the state doesn't pay for.

"We had a billion dollars' worth of projects that were needed, vetted those through a grate system, and came up with $680 million we felt we couldn't say no to," Larsen said.

So why are so many projects overdue? LeeAnn says it's been eight years since the last bond. Four years ago, the economy was too shaky to go to voters for help. And that $15-million levy you passed just last year was strictly to bring back teachers after the 200 layoffs in 2012. So the district says the only way they can get rid of the portables is to have voters pass this bond.

The district was able to hold onto its existing bond tax rate of $2.11 per $1,000 of your assessed property value. But property values are on the rise in Washington County. The county says in the last year, the increase was about 1 percent. So your tax rate would go up based on the changing value of your home. Properties will be assessed in the fall.