Still gathering costs and information in preparation for a referendum pitch to voters for this fall, the Oregon school board is aiming to approve referendum language at its July 9 meeting.

Board members talked Monday night about the wording of “working drafts” of two referendum questions and a rough timeline of actions needed to put two referendums on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“We have a general sense that maybe a little bit more time would be wise, just to make sure we have accurate numbers, as opposed to rushing through stuff,” said board president Steve Zach. “And we’ve got time,”

Some of that is figuring out capital-related costs for school construction, which superintendent Brian Busler said school officials are now working out with the proposed builder, J.H. Findorff and Sons. The district is scheduled to meet with Findorff officials within the week.

“We think we’re really close,” he said. “They assured us they will have final construction costs on (June) 22.”

Another part is figuring out the tax burden for the referendums – how much would be taken up by new district taxpayers, how much would be asked for in the referendums and when. Busler said district business manager Andy Weiland is working with the district’s bonding company on “impact tax statements and appropriate tax values as our community continues to grow.”

“Remember, as we continue to grow, there are more property taxpayers to pay for the costs of the school district,” Busler said.

According to state law, schools boards must approve referendums for the Nov. 6 elections by Aug. 27, but Busler said the goal is to approve final referendum language sooner so it can start the process of informing the public.

“There’s a huge advantage for us on a communications side if we have our ducks in a row early; for us to have the board approve it and then we can start the messaging process with the referendum,” he said.

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