Oregon School District referendum looks to build new elementary school

Published: Oct. 15, 2018 at 9:42 PM CDT
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The Oregon School District is hoping that voters will move forward with a referendum aimed at accommodating more students in the growing district.

The Nov. 6 referendum has two questions. The first question looks at building a new kindergarten through sixth grade elementary school in Fitchburg at $44.9M.

"We are growing by 2,000 students over the next 12 school years. To place it as simple as possible, we do not have enough classroom space for those 2,000 students," said Dr. Brian Busler, Superintendent of the Oregon School District. "So our board has approved a plan that's broken into two different phases, and the first phase of the plan is constructing a new K-6 elementary school in the northern part of our district."

Dr. Busler said that the new school would be constructed in Fitchburg because the northern area of the district is expanding the fastest, especially around the Lacy Road Interchange.

Dr. Busler also said that by 2020, the elementary schools and Rome Corners Intermediate School in the district will be overcrowded. Oregon Middle School will be approaching capacity by 2025. He said that because of that, he is optimistic voters will see the need to expand.

"The reason we're optimistic is we don't have enough space for our existing students," he said. "It's our hope that the community sees the need and can provide the appropriate space for our students."

The second question in the referendum calls for $2.1M annually for operating and maintenance expenses. Dr. Busler said that number includes the cost of hiring new staff for the elementary school, funding supplies for the school, and maintaining an old referendum meant to allow upgrades to schools.

"We need those additional revenues to pay for additional costs of opening up our new school," said Dr. Busler.

These two questions are part of the district's first phase for expansion. Phase two aims to build a sixth through eight grade middle school, and make the elementary schools kindergarten through fifth grade.

Community members will be able to vote on the referendum on Nov. 6.