News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Voters approve school bond

There will be a new Sisters Elementary School in a new location in a couple of years — thanks to a resounding “Yes” vote from the Sisters community on Measure 9-141 in the May 18 election.

The passage of the levy with a tax rate of 93 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value will allow the creation of a $33.8-million fund for construction of the new school. Construction of the school is the primary focus of the endeavor, but any funds left over could be allocated to renovations and upgrades on other district property. The levy approved by voters picks up from the retired bond that funded Sisters High School.

The new construction is being driven by increasing elementary school enrollment. Sisters Elementary School is currently at 106 percent of capacity, with a projection of hitting 111 percent capacity next year. The district moved the fifth grade to Sisters Middle School (SMS) many years ago to alleviate crowding. A new facility would allow the fifth grade to return to the elementary-school environment and also free up additional capacity at SMS.

“We just really appreciate the support of the community and the recognition of the growth, and we think it’s going to be fantastic for the kids in our district,” said Sisters School District Superintendent Curt Scholl.

Next steps include developing a request-for-proposal for a design firm and selecting a project manager. The timeline for the project seeks completion of the new school in 2023. That school will be built near the current locations of SMS and Sisters High School. Consolidating all three Sisters schools on one large campus is expected to create efficiencies and provide some educational benefits, including sharing staff resource, and facilitating more near-peer mentoring.

Sisters School District plans to conduct a community-wide process to determine what will happen with the site of the current Sisters Elementary School.

In other election news, Edie Jones retained the Position 5 seat on the school board to which she had previously been appointed, and Jenica Cogdill won election to Position 1 on the board. Both were elected by wide margins. David Thorsett, who ran unopposed, will continue in Position 2.

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Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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