BHSD Bonds and Capital Improvement Information
Updated Nov. 2020
School Bond Basics
Why did my property tax bill change significantly from last year’s tax bill to this year’s?
Please note that there is a basic school tax rate set by the state. Funds collected from this go to the general fund for the daily operation of the school district. The information in this document is referring to bond taxes approved by local voters to finance major capital projects.
School Bond General Process
- School bond measure passed by voters:
- Measure permits school district to borrow money (in the form of issuing bonds) to finance capital projects such as building or remodeling schools. The ballot measure stipulates the amount the district is authorized to borrow.
- School districts levy taxes to raise the money needed to pay the annual bond/debt payment:
- District submits the amount of money needed for debt service to the county assessor.
- County assessor determines tax rate needed to raise the funds (rate is set in dollars per thousand dollars of assessed value).
- Taxes are collected and can only be used by the district to pay bond debt obligations.
Approach to Setting Tax Amount
If a school district does not collect enough money to cover the bond payment, the difference would need to come out of general fund operating dollars which impacts students, teachers and general district operations. To prevent this from happening, Oregon law allows Districts to set the tax amount at a level that ensures that there will be enough funds to pay the bond debt service payment.
The Brookings-Harbor School District applied this approach to setting the tax levels. Over the years, extra collections accumulated, which could only be used to pay debt service.
Brookings-Harbor School District Bond and Capital Projects
Seismic Safety Structural Upgrades
In 2000, the voters of the community approved a bond to add additional classrooms and new cafeterias throughout the district, along with a new gym at the elementary school. In 2013 the bond was refinanced to take advantage of better rates which resulted in cost savings.
In addition, the District has received four seismic rehabilitation grants that enabled the district to improve the structural integrity to the buildings in the event of an earthquake. This improves the safety for students and staff. In addition, the updated facilities also serve as community shelters if there were a major seismic event or other emergencies. The seismic retrofits have also added years of life to older buildings and brought the retrofitting areas up to modern building codes. This has helped with the district’s maintenance and repair costs as well. These grants were not related to the bond, but they enabled us to complete $6.2 million worth of structural upgrades to improve the safety of our schools that otherwise would not have been able to happen without the support of needing an additional bond passed.
Most recently, the Azalea gym received a full seismic retrofit that included much needed new bleachers.
School District Bond
As we approached the final years of the bond obligation, the district had saved enough to give the community a 1 year hiatus on bond taxes for the 2019 property tax bill and also was able to reduce the final year’s bond tax rate by approximately 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. At the end of this year, the district will have paid off the bond obligations thanks to the support of our amazing community. I apologize for any confusion the recent changes in bond rates may have caused. The Brookings-Harbor School Board and I are committed to maintaining ongoing and transparent communications about the district finances as well as future potential bond finances. This is an essential part of building and maintaining trust with the community.