The Baker School Board has made official what for months has seemed all but assured — it will ask voters in the Nov. 6 election to approve a $48 million property tax bond measure to build a new elementary school, remodel Baker High School to accommodate seventh- and eighth-graders in a separate area, and make other improvements to district schools.
We say “all but assured” mainly because we didn’t think the board, after the district and two committees had invested so much time and effort over the past 2 ﬁ years in assessing the district’s current buildings and space needs, was likely to scrap the bond proposal rather than forward it to the district’s approximately 9,700 voters.
It was the right choice.
Considering that 70 years have passed since voters approved a bond measure for school construction in the district, and that both Brooklyn Primary and South Baker Intermediate are housing more students than they were designed for, and Baker High School considerably fewer, it’s a logical time for the board to take the matter to voters.
This is a complicated issue, to be sure. And the measure, were it to pass, would create a significant financial commitment for property owners over the next 30 years.
The district and its committees have assembled a trove of information about building capacities, ages and limitations, and we urge voters to read those documents before ballots are mailed in October.
We’ll be doing the same — even though we’ve been covering this topic from the start — to help inform a future editorial giving our opinion about whether or not we support the measure.
This is potentially a milestone in Baker City’s history, one that guides our public education system for at least the next 50 years, and, considering the age of the current schools, quite possibly longer.
We think voters owe it to themselves, and to the school district, to devote time to understanding the details of the district’s plans before casting their ballots this fall.
The district expects to post the information on its website, https://www.baker5j.org/, by about Aug. 8.
From the Baker City Herald editorial board. The board consists of editor Jayson Jacoby and reporter Chris Collins.