Statesman Journal: Gervais school leaders still hope to consolidate students at one campus
Author: Stefanie Knowlton, Salem Statesman Journal
Posted: November 13, 2012

Read the original story in the Statesman Journal here.

Officials from Gervais School District examined a state-of-the art portable classroom on a recent visit to Blazer Industries in Aumsville.

"There was nothing outwardly that looked futuristic," said Superintendent Rick Hensel, "but everything that was in there had thought behind it either to provide energy savings or reduce some type of environmental concern."

The district hopes to buy 20 of the classrooms designed by Portland State University architects as healthy, green and affordable alternatives. Soon officials will know the price tag for the eco-friendly buildings.

Gervais is moving forward with plans to consolidate students at one campus using the new portables despite the fact that voters rejected the $4.24 million bond to pay for it.

"The board is very firm on the consolidation idea," Hensel said, "it's just a matter of how soon we can get it done."

Next week the school board will talk about whether to go out for another bond measure in the spring or wait for the district’s three elementary schools to sell in order to pay for the consolidation.

Hensel hopes to hear next month about the possible sale of one of the schools. Selling the three schools could bring in about $3.7 million.

Consolidation would save about $500,000 per year, according to the district, which would stave off cuts to teaching staff and student programs.

The bond called for renovating the middle school to accommodate elementary students, adding portable classrooms near the high school for middle school students, building a gym and repairing the high school roof.

It also included repairs to the track and field facility and the purchase of classroom equipment, furniture and technology. It would have increased property taxes by 56 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.