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home : education : schools June 20, 2018

5/23/2018 8:05:00 AM
Voters support schools, SPRD
By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Sisters voters affirmed their support of local educational and recreation programs on May 15, approving local option tax levies for both Sisters School District and for Sisters Park & Recreation District (SPRD).

The local option levy for the schools is a renewal of a 75 cents per $1,000 assessment that voters have approved repeatedly since 2000.

Voters in the May 15 primary election signed off on the renewal with 68 percent voting in favor. The margin of victory strikes Sisters Schools Superintendent Curt Scholl as an affirmation of the solid relationship the schools have with the community.

"It continues to say what a supportive community we have, and how they value education for our students, and the impact strong schools have on the community," he said.

"Local option is vital to the district, representing approximately $1.2 million, or nine percent of the budget. That can be translated to roughly 15 teaching positions or 26 school days," Scholl said.

That means that the district can never be complacent about voter support.

"It was a big deal," Scholl said.

The passage means the district can continue to offer signature programs that are exceptional for a small district: outdoor education, music programs, a farm-to-table agricultural program - while maintaining small class sizes.

Scholl describes these key functions as "all the things that we do that require resources - human resources,


The district, like all schools in Oregon, relies on enrollment, which currently stands at 1,097. Scholl says that's the highest it's been in his tenure here.

"We're cautiously optimistic moving into next year," he said.

Sisters Park & Recreation District got a big shot in the arm with the 58 percent voter approval of a 15 cents per $1,000 local option levy to supplement the district's 22 cents per $1,000 permanent tax base.

SPRD Board Chair Bob Keefer told The Nugget that the infusion of funds will allow SPRD to maintain its physical assets and will help the district keep programs affordable and expand adult and senior adult programming. Keefer also noted that the additional funds - which should come to more than $200,000 per year going forward - will help the district retain


Each levy will require renewal in five years.

Voter turnout in the precincts that make up Sisters Country was approximately 48.5 percent - considerably higher than the record-low 33.6 percent turnout statewide.

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