In the Hands of the Voters: Gresham-Barlow Looks Forward to November Vote


Gresham-Barlow School District is awaiting the decision of voters on Bond Measure 26-153 on the November 2013 ballot. This $210 million bond would fund much-needed renovations and upgrades in many schools throughout the district. Some of the top items on the wish list are:

  • Building upgrades and renovations including new windows, roofing, walls and getting rid of portable classrooms

  • Technology and resource upgrades

  • Add security systems and replace existing classroom locks

Included in the bond measure is the closure, or “repurposing”, of West Gresham Elementary School and the closure Damascus Middle School and moving those students to Deep Creek Elementary School where the new school would be a K-8 school.

Full details of the bond measure and even some FAQs can be found here and more details on the bond measure campaign and the work of Citizens for Schools can be found here.

If you’re an East Multnomah County resident, make sure you cast your vote!


19 thoughts on “In the Hands of the Voters: Gresham-Barlow Looks Forward to November Vote

  1. I think that this would be a great measure if it is to get passed. I am not to familiar with the public school system in Gresham but it seem obvious that they would need building upgrades because that is what the measure is about. If the children have an environment that is clean and safe then there is no doubt that they will be more engaged in their learning and not worrying if the ceiling tiles will fall on their heads.
    I am not to familiar with bonds, would the school district have to pay those bonds back with interest? or is it just like a grant where they can just take the money and not have to worry about paying anything back, that would be awesome. I do not think it is the latter but a girl can dream.

  2. Hopefully they get the Bond and are able to renovate their schools in Gresham-Barlow. I went to Elementary school in a very poor California school and I remember most of my classes were in portable classrooms. They were freezing in the winter and ridiculously hot in the spring/summer. It’s so hard for kids to focus on school when their enviorment is rundown and falling apart.

    I was reading with a couple kids at my afterschool program placement site and the kids were super engaged with the story I was reading to them.. until they noticed a bug on the carpent under us. It completely derailed the story and I couldn’t get their attention back after it was lost. Bugs are gross! No kid should have to worry about bugs crawling on them in the library or at school.

    How can we get more money for all the schools in Oregon that need it?

  3. This particular bond measure would be paid by adding property taxes. In this instance, the additional rate would be $1.56 per $1,000 of assessed property value. So, if you own a home which is assessed at $200,00, your property taxes would increase by $312 a year.

    Because this bond is paid by property taxes, I can’t imagine that GBSD would have to pay it back. I tried researching a little on how school bond measures work but I don’t feel like an expert at this point!

    • mjcoleman30- Thanks for the run down of where the money is coming from. How do you feel about increasing property taxes to support this? I personally hope it passes. Technology in the classroom is so essential at this point, and many of these schools that haven’t had the funds to upgrade have students falling behind in an essential field of learning.

      Elizabeth Sharp- I agree with you on how it is hard for kids to focus on school when they are too cold/hot because of their environment. The school I am volunteering at has one classroom in particular where the kids constantly complain about it being too cold. There are blankets available for them if necessary, but I just think that is sad. These schools need the financial support!

      • Hi Sasha,

        I have mixed feelings on this. While I am lucky in that I could afford the property tax increase, I also have real-life insight as to how funds in this district are allocated and, in my opinion, funds are not being managed well. However, for the construction projects and such (upgrades to buildings, plumbing, HVAC, etc) I do see the need for it. A little known fact for GBSD: they do not have adequate sewage systems at one of the high schools and the district employs a full time employee to drive a truck between the two schools, picking up sewage from one school and emptying it in the other school’s sewer, Totally gross but obviously a necessity! I wonder if this is something that will be fixed with this bond.


      • Megan- OH WOW!!!! What in the world!? That is so crazy. I had no idea that that was going on! A full time employee driving sewage back and forth?! That is so not ok! Obviously there are priorities that need to be focused on and and used before other types of spending occur. Thank you so much for the insight and the info!

    • I read over the ballot measure (thanks for linking it!) and at the end I noticed that it states no one had made an argument for or against it. That struck me as odd. I think the bond would gain a lot more support if a teacher association or the school board or ANYONE made a compelling argument in favor of passing it. There was a bond measure in my district of Parkrose a could years ago for $63 million that would help rebuild the middle school as well as upgrade and improve other schools in the district. The bond just barely passed. BARELY. I think it was only by a few votes that it passed. I wonder what the school district is doing to get people to vote in favor of passing the bill, especially convincing those without children that they should vote yes.

    • Thanks for posting this link. I read through it and found that by what it said this bond could really help out the school district. I can see more pros than cons associated with this ballot. I had some friends who attended Gresham High School and they said that the school could most definitely use some upgrades. I agree with Olivia that it was odd that there was no argument for or against this ballot. This makes me wonder if there is a reason for this. I think if there was to be a argument for this ballot it would catch the attention of the public and hopefully help it get passed. I’ll be interested to see if this does end up being passed and hopefully the schools get the updates that are needed.

      • jehadiromero and oliviabeck- I also find it interesting that there hasn’t been any argument for or against this ballot. Maybe it isn’t getting the attention that it needs? It is worrisome. I know from recent personal experience with a nearby city council that when an argument is made against a proposed measure… people can become passionate about the subject on both sides and a difference can be made. Many times when people don’t feel informed enough about it… they won’t vote for it… I hope this gets the boost in attention that it needs in the area before it’s too late. How can someone help get the word out there? I wonder if there is a place to volunteer for canvassing or something?

  4. Hi Megan,

    Thank you for sharing something positive! Everything I have read and learned so far this term has been so upsetting. It seems likely that the school bond will pass from what I read in the article you posted.The article pointed out that those who are politically driven feel motivated to vote for the bond because they see education as a priority. I do hope that the property tax will cover the cost and that the schools do not have to pay it back later. I will share this info with my friends and thanks for keeping us informed!


  5. It is a big controversy. Parents, like me, want the best school districts for our kids and choose their house based on that. Then school board tax bills get passed and it goes up $1,000 more a year than what we already pay.
    What is a person to do? We want great schools and we pay dearly for it. I guess we could pay and extra $10,000 a year for private schools….that would be more extreme. No thank you. I would never go private.
    Glad to have money for schools, but to afford it is another matter. Then, our school just sent out an email asking for $500.00 for every family to donate.

    • jenkingwatt- they sent out personal emails requesting that every family member donates $500? I haven’t heard of that happening before, but I am not a parent with kids in school. Is that a regular practice right now? Did they give you a run down of what the money would be used for? Is there any penalties against you if you don’t donate?

      • I’m not. Already contribute with my taxes and volunteer work. Every school needs upgrades. Schools that rate high and low need building repairs. I went to a beautiful high school (new) in Hillsboro. Some Beaverton elementary schools have great looking buildings. My friend in West Linn says her schools need upgrades. It is all around, except for a few new buildings. I have been told by a principal that just because the schools looks bad doesn’t mean that it is a low school. There are wonderful teachers in every school. Sometimes it is not the money in the schools, it is the home life of the student. Every school in every state asks for money.

  6. This bond measure seems like if it passes it will be a really positive thing for the schools in the Gresham -Barlow school district. I am especially interested in the plan to close Damascus Elementary and merge with Deep Creek Elementary to create a K-8 campus. The article mentioned that both schools are operating at half-capacity. I think merging these schools and pooling their resources to upgrade the Deep Creek campus would be beneficial to the students at both schools.

  7. I am not to familiar with the Gresham Barlow school district, but reading about the bond measure sounds like it should pass. Especially if it is going to help improve the schools by adding in safety and security improvements, building repairs, technology upgrade, and class room addition and renovations. I think its real important that students have a safe and comfortable environment where they can learn. Hopefully in the future not just the Gresham Barlow school district could use the change if it gets passed but also Portland Public Schools. I attended Portland Public schools and I feel like some of the schools also need renovations and repairs I would notice how in the hall ways or cafeteria the ceilings would be dripping from the rain. Or in the locker room people wouldn’t want to change for PE because they would find a mice running around. Hopefully there could be a lot of changes to many schools in the near future.

  8. Megan, I’m really glad that you found a piece of news in the media that is so relevant and relatable to some of the issues we have been discussing in class. When I first read your post, I was somewhat concerned about the two schools that would close if the bond passed. I’ve been thinking a lot about the effects of relocating students since our in class discussion on Friday. However, after I read the links you provided, it seems as though the passing of the measure would ultimately be in the best interest of the school system and the students involved. The schools need to be updated and secure so that students will feel safer and more comfortable in their environments. With this said, I think that Jen brought up an important point whens she talked about the pressure many families feel to make monetary contributions toward the schools that their children attend. How much more can parents give? While $22 extra a month may not seem like a lot to ask property owners to pay, it adds up. With inflation and the economy in the state that it is, many families are already having a tough time surviving. What are other ways to find funding for schools? How much should the government (federal and state) be expected to contribute?

    Thanks for posting this,

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