The Baker School Board is inviting public comment this week on an 11-member committee’s recommendation to seek voter approval in May 2020 of a bond measure to raise money to improve schools.

The board will discuss the proposal and accept public comment when it meets at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Council Chambers of City Hall at 1655 First St. The regular Board meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

The public is being asked to comment on a plan that calls for a $7.5 million bond measure to help fund measures to correct overcrowding at the elementary and middle school levels. The money also would help fund safety and security improvements throughout the District.

The bond would be repaid in 10 years. The cost to taxpayers would be about 66 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, Superintendent Mark Witty stated in a press release. That would mean the owner of a home assessed at $108,320 (the median price of a home in Baker County) would pay $71.49 per year to support the levy, Witty said.

Money raised by the bond measure would be combined with a $4 million state matching grant and $5 million from the Baker School District for a total of $16.5 million.

Witty said the District’s contribution would include $3 million to be contributed from Student Success Act funds, approved last spring by the Oregon Legislature, and $2 million from the District’s capital projects fund.

The committee agreed on the scaled-back proposal after reviewing information the District collected from surveys and public meetings after a proposed $48 million plan was decisively rejected in the November 2018 election. Those responding to questions about the last plan’s failure said any new bond should be smaller, and include a shorter payback term as well as remodeling existing buildings as opposed to new construction.

In other business, the Board will:

• Honor Promise Students of the Month: Lance Kerns of Haines Elementary School and Lilly Gately of Baker Middle School.

• Hear a presentation from Haley Hueckman of New Directions Northwest on the Challenge Day program aimed at improving school climate.

• Hear a presentation by Greg Mitchell, Baker High School principal, on the applied mathematics program in use at BHS.

• Consider personnel reports including the hiring of Alan Glover, who has resigned as District maintenance worker. The Board is scheduled to approve his hiring as head groundskeeper, a confidential/managerial position in the District Maintenance Department.

Classified new hires are Zeila Baez, a paraprofessional at South Baker Intermediate and Emoke Marvin, Brooklyn Primary secretary.

Extra-duty resignations include Cliff Demastus, BHS JV basketball coach; Jeff Anderson, BHS JV2 basketball coach; Chelsea Hurliman, BHS varsity volleyball coach; and Candice Hoskins-Patton, BMS intramural basketball and track coach.

Amy Younger is an extra-duty new hire, who will coach the BHS JV2 girls basketball team.

• Consider the first reading of all district policies regarding board governance, administration, facilities and negotiations.

• Consider approving an adult meal price increase from $1.70 to $2.60 for breakfasts and from $3.10 to $3.90 for lunches.

• Hear reports on a letter of intent and executive summary for a new international school program from Tom Joseph, director of specific secondary programs, and a report on a new school information system from Geno Bates, South Baker principal.

• Approve listing two pianos from the BHS music department as surplus.

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