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Battle Ground School District officials hope third time’s the charm for bond

District is hoping a gamble to quickly send the bond back to voters pays off in April

BATTLE GROUND — Will the third time be the charm for the Battle Ground School District bond measure?

After coming up 220 votes shy of the 60 percent approval needed to pass their $224.9 million dollar bond last month, members of the Battle Ground School Board made the decision to put it back on the ballot next month. The district is hoping for a similar outcome to 2013, when their operations levy failed in February, then gained nearly 10 percent to pass the following April.

 

Glenwood Heights Primary School is one of the buildings that would be replaced with the bond money. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground School District
Glenwood Heights Primary School is one of the buildings that would be replaced with the bond money. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground School District

 

Battle Ground Schools Superintendent Mark Ross. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground School District
Battle Ground Schools Superintendent Mark Ross. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground School District

“It’s hard, in two month’s time, for us to go out and say ‘hey, we’re really going to change a lot of people’s minds’,” says Battle Ground Schools Superintendent Mark Ross, “but if we can focus on the people that we know are positive, maybe we get more people voting.”

A breakdown of the vote by precincts shows areas north of Amboy and outside of Yacolt, as well as the east side of the district, were heavily against the bond.

“Part of the problem in Battle Ground is that we are a large, spread out district,” Ross says. “We’re 285 square miles. So if you’re in an area that got a new building in the 2005 bond, and you’re sitting with a nicer, newer, safer building like in Amboy or Tukes (Valley), you may not see the need as much.”

Ross says their goal of district officials between now and April 24 won’t be to change minds in those outlying areas, but to focus on increasing turnout in the southern part of the school district. That’s where much of the population growth currently is, and where the largest amount of support for the bond existed in February.

Students at Pleasant Valley Primary must carry their lunches from the main building to their portable classrooms, due to a lack of a cafeteria. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground School District
Students at Pleasant Valley Primary must carry their lunches from the main building to their portable classrooms, due to a lack of a cafeteria. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground School District

“We had some precincts that were over 70 percent yes votes, but only about 20 percent of the people voted,” says Ross. “Right around Prairie High School, which is one of our major growing areas, there are 1,500 eligible voters in that precinct, and only about 300 voted, and of those it was about 70 percent yes.”

The district’s proposal is to replace Glenwood Heights Primary School, nearby Laurin Middle School, as well as Pleasant Valley primary and middle schools. The money would also build a new primary and middle school along 152nd Avenue, and develop a site for CAM Academy, the district’s Alternative Learning Experience campus, along with replacing and adding several buildings at Prairie High School.

Portables at Laurin Middle School are shown here. The campus would receive a new building with the bond money. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground School District
Portables at Laurin Middle School are shown here. The campus would receive a new building with the bond money. Photo courtesy of Battle Ground School District

“There’s been a tremendous amount of growth in the Pleasant Valley area, and the Glenwood/Laurin area, apartments along 119th and 503,’’ Ross said. “And still a projected amount of growth, according to our study, that in the next 10 years we’ll grow by 1,500 to 2,500 more students. And, predominantly, those are going to be in the south end.”

The school district is holding a Bond Information Meeting March 28, 6 p.m. in the library at Prairie High School, 11311 NE 119th St, Vancouver.

Clark County Today will also run a special two-part series focusing on both sides of the debate at the beginning of April, so check back for that.

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About The Author

Chris Brown

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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