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SFSD Board pulls $73M bond off May ballot

The Silver Fall School District Board has unanimously voted to remove a $73 million bond measure Silver Fall School District Boardfrom the May 21 ballot amid broader financial and administrative challenges.

The decision was made during a special meeting held virtually the afternoon of March 21, as the district had a deadline of 5 p.m. that day to pull the measure.

Board members said their efforts to correct a projected $825,000 budget shortfall and to fill a vacant superintendent’s position had to take priority over the measure.

“I feel like this could be quite a major distraction,” Board Member Josh Ort said of the bond.

The board also said there does not appear to be public support for a bond, reporting difficulties recruiting volunteers for a PAC supporting the measure. 

A prior $138 million bond measure in November of 2023 was also short on voter support, failing with 55.76% disapproval.

The district would pay between $1,250 and $2,250 to participate in the May election, acting superintendent Dan Busch explained, adding the bond meassure could negatively impact interest rates on a bridge loan – which would borrow against future property taxes – that the district is considering to address the deficit.

Board Chair Jennifer Traeger said she had been hesitant to withdraw the bond at the start of the meeting. After Busch’s report, as well as a broader update on worsening deficit projections, Traeger said she believed pulling the bond was the right decision.

The board originally voted Feb. 12 to place the bond on the ballot. The measure would have provided funds to rebuild Silverton Middle School and for critical repairs at Silverton High School.

 – Stephen Floyd

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