Voters approved a $24 million bond with projects committed to every Jefferson County 509J school in the district. But as the district pushes forward to fulfill the projects promised in the bond, it is carefully preparing for unexpected financial hurdles due to inflation.
“It puts us in a challenging spot, where we do one of two things,” said 509J School District Superintendent Jay Mathisen. “We get aggressive and assertive and pursue other resources to help us complete those bond projects and or we consider the scope of those projects and see if we can trim scope within those things and stay within our budget.”
The projects include things like maintenance, improvements, enhancements and expansions.
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Mathisen says the district can start construction on those projects due to outside funding.
“We’ve been very aggressive in seeking some statewide and federal dollars outside of the bond that we asked our voters to contribute, and we’re able to hit our first projects out of the gate and meet those costs because we’ve gotten some other resources,” said Mathisen.
Thanks to the bond, other work being done includes much-needed improvements to the soccer facility and adding classrooms, including a new Career and Technical Education workspace at Madras High School.
“In Warm Springs, at our K-8 Academy, we are actually adding six classrooms,” said Mathisen. “It’s been a bit overcrowded there and we are glad our enrollment is strong, but we need to add some spaces, and we are glad to do it.”
Mathisen says they remain on track despite inflation throwing a wrench in the school district’s plans.
“We’re really going to be breaking ground. You are going to see a lot of things happening on campuses on Jefferson County School in the month to come, but we are on target,” said Mathisen. “We expect to have most of that work completed within the next two to three calendar years.”