Economic growth fuels need for new schools, helps pay for them

To the editor:

Hermiston’s growth is not an accident. Its location, weather, culture and even soil have created an environment ripe for development. Careful planning has made way for sustained expansion.

In 1999, when voters approved a bond to expand Hermiston High School and build Desert View Elementary, the assessed value of property in the district was $714.8 million. In 2019, the assessed value is $2.116 billion.

School enrollment has grown just as quickly, as new businesses bring new employees, and new employees bring families. There are no indications this era of opportunity is a passing phase.

Fortunately, with voter support, the Hermiston School District can leverage that economic growth to help build new schools needed to maintain adequate room for its students. The growing industrial, commercial and residential areas will add to the tax base and generate the property taxes needed to pay for this construction.

We all benefit from strong school districts. The Port of Umatilla relies on being able to attract qualified employees, and investments like this are keystones to a healthy economy. That’s why the commissioners have formally endorsed the bond measure.

Measure 30-130 continues in the tradition of thoughtful planning, and the school board and district should be commended for offering voters a plan that keeps us growing in a positive direction.

Join me in voting Yes for Hermiston Schools in November.

Kim B. Puzey


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