In an effort to create stronger two-way communication between Sisters educators and community members, Superintendent Curtiss Scholl and the school
board have been asking local residents to share their insights and get connected. His goal is to reach beyond parents, families, and students and engage neighbors who may not have children enrolled in one of the three district schools.
“I’ve been working to get a better understanding of the priorities around education and I’ve made it a priority to hear from all of our residents, not only parents and family members,” said Scholl who took on the superintendent role last July. “We all know that great schools have a huge impact on our local economy, future workforce, property values, and graduation rates. That’s why we needed to ask our business and community leaders and retired neighbors to let us know where they stand on school-related issues.”
With a new school bond on the table for the May ballot, Scholl said he has a clear understanding of what local residents think is important.
“The timing is interesting because I believe that two-way communication is critical regardless of having a bond measure on the ballot,” said Scholl. “The board’s decision to move forward with another bond makes perfect sense based on our facility needs. The process of getting to that decision has also helped open new lines of communication and opportunities to build trust with our community.”
In addition to a series of community forums, Scholl said the district recently conducted a public opinion survey to learn more about what residents want to see in education and if they would support another bond. The district is also in the process of building a community email list and launching a monthly electronic newsletter to share general updates about schools and education.
“We should be sharing news about our programs, needs, and successes and inviting feedback on a regular basis,” said Scholl. “We also want to be able to provide timely communication with our neighbors in the event of an emergency in one of our schools or the community.”
Local community / school partnerships do not appear to be lacking in the Sisters Community with ongoing support from Sisters Folk Festival and a host of business leaders and individuals who volunteer their time to bring a unique offering of programs to the district. These include outdoor education, guitar and ukulele building, songwriting, culinary science, flight science, Chinese language, sports, agriculture, and more.
In addition to these established programs, Scholl said the district is always in need of community members who want to volunteer their time in classrooms, reading with students, mentoring, and helping with schoolwork.
“There are many ways for folks who don’t have kids in school to be part of education. As they say, it takes a village,” said Scholl.
Facts about the Proposed Bond for Sisters School District
A new proposed school bond
The Sisters School Board has proposed a new school bond for the May 17, 2016 ballot. Ballots were mailed on April 27.
The proposed school bond is for $10.7 million, which translates to an estimated $0.41 per $1,000 assessed property value.
The proposed bond is designed to:
- Make school buildings safer and more secure for students & staff
- Protect the investment the community has made in existing school buildings
- Provide technology infrastructure for a 21st century education
The district also hopes to refinance debt to free up funding for classrooms and student programs and upgrade our athletic facilities to meet A.D.A. and safety requirements.
The priority over the past several months has been to listen to the community’s vision for education in Sisters. The district continues to ask for feedback in a number of ways including:
- On-going, face-to-face conversations
- Community forums
- A formal public opinion survey
This proposed bond is different from the bond that appeared on the November 2014 ballot in the following ways:
- The cost of the new proposed bond is $10.7 million vs. the $14.5 million proposed in November 2014.
- The district has done a better job of asking questions and listening to what community members have to say.
- The district has significantly simplified and modified the bond proposal based on community input.
- The district has come up with a bond proposal that better reflects the priorities of community members.
Community members interested in learning more about the specific projects and costs for the proposed bond can do so here.