By Stephen Floyd
The Silver Falls School District Board will appoint a Bond Oversight Committee ahead of the Nov. 7 bond measure vote so participants will be known before votes are cast.
The $138 million bond would impact all 11 schools in the district, and the committee would include at least one representative from within each school’s boundaries. There would also be at-large members as well as representatives from the construction industry.
Applications to serve on the committee are due Sept. 29. The board is expected to make appointments during its regular meeting Oct. 9.
Superintendent Scott Drue told the board during its Aug. 28 meeting the goal is to promote transparency and to emphasize the committee’s role in fiscal accountability.
“That’s the reason why we’re not waiting until after Election Day… to give a message to our public that we are very serious about the accountability, the transparency and the trust,” he said.
The board voted June 20 to place a bond measure on the Nov. 7 ballot to address failing infrastructure at each school. Needs range from roofs, HVAC systems and ADA upgrades to a new building for Silverton Middle School where closed portions of the current facility are condemned.
If the bond passes, the district would receive a matching grant from the state of $4 million, bringing the total available to fund bond projects to $142 million.
Early polling showed voters were concerned about transparency and accountability, and making sure bond funds were not spent on unnecessary materials and upgrades.
Drue said the Bond Oversight Committee would fulfill this role by:
• Meeting quarterly and producing quarterly reports, as well as an annual progress report.
• Attending design presentations and construction tours.
• Reviewing the district’s policy for selecting contractors, vendors and consultants.
• Reviewing financial statements, project scopes and project schedules.
• Making policy recommendations with the goal to strengthen accountability.
• Playing an active role in community outreach regarding the bond.
• Serving until all major bond projects are brought to a substantial point of completion and at least 95% of bond funds are expended (estimated two to three years).
Drue said this long term of service should not become a barrier for those wishing to serve on the committee. He acknowledged a multiyear commitment can be a lot for a volunteer and the district would try to work around the needs of committee members.
“Maybe a better way of saying it is that members would have the opportunity to stay on the committee for multiple years,” he said.
The board hopes to find between 12 and 18 volunteers for the committee. While the board wants to see representation from the contractor community, it would not allow an oversight committee member to submit a bid for any bond projects.
Superintendent talks about bond at forum
Silver Falls School District Superintendent Scott Drue will explain and take questions about the bond proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot.
The presentation, sponsored by the Silverton Lions Club, will be Thursday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church. The public is encouraged to attend.