School superintendent thanks Pendleton voters for support

<p>Jon Peterson</p>

On Nov. 5 Pendleton-area voters approved ballot measure 30-95, the Pendleton School District bond measure for approximately $50 million. This is wonderful news for our school district and community.

The main projects include new elementary schools at Sherwood Heights and Washington, replacing the current aging and deteriorating buildings at those sites. We will also remodel and repurpose the Hawthorne building, creating an early childhood education center for full-day kindergarten and various 3- and 4-year old preschool programs.

McKay Creek Elementary School, Sunridge Middle School and Pendleton High School will see improvements as well. Updates that address safety and security, technology upgrades, and energy efficiencies will occur in each of these buildings.

West Hills Intermediate School will be repurposed to house the high school alternative education program, with a focus on establishing community-based partnerships to ultimately create a career-technical education center at the site. Lincoln Primary School will become the District Education Center, which includes the central administrative office.

I would personally like to recognize the efforts of our political action committee, People for Pendleton Schools. I cannot imagine any group working harder and with more enthusiasm than this group of volunteers. These people are truly advocates for our children and our community — they serve as a reminder of the true definition of Pendleton pride.

Additionally, there were many community leaders, citizens, business organizations, employees, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who supported this measure. This campaign would not have been successful without the support and efforts of so many people.

There will be many construction project opportunities in our community in the next few years. The passage of this bond will give a much-needed boost to our local economy. Keeping in mind state statutes around bidding procedures, it is our hope that the bulk of these projects are completed by local businesses and workers.

We have recently hired the Wenaha Group, a local firm, to provide project management services for the duration of our bond projects. The activities to follow will include hiring architects, developing architectural details, hiring contractors, bidding, engineering, developing project timelines, reporting and all the trades work. We will include staff members, community members, and various other stakeholders in the work and planning that lies ahead.

Within the next month we will establish the PSD bond oversight committee. This committee will be comprised of five to seven community members, two school board representatives, and necessary administrative and support staff to monitor the implementation of bond projects authorized by voters. Transparency, oversight and communication are expectations the public can depend on with the passage of this bond. The bond oversight committee will hold us to that commitment.

With the passage of the bond, we now have approximately an additional $50 million in bond proceeds to account for in our 2014-2015 budget. It is important to understand that this revenue is exclusively for the bond projects. It is not part of our general fund operating budget.

Due to the passage of ballot measure 30-95, there are exciting times ahead for our district and our community. The Pendleton School District staff, board of directors, students and I want to thank you — the community of Pendleton — for recognizing the need, showing your pride and supporting our schools.


Jon Peterson is the superintendent for the Pendleton School District.

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