Bond funds to upgrade Black Butte School


Last updated 6/6/2023 at 2:26pm

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Students will benefit from upgrades to their Black Butte School facility.

The voters in Camp Sherman passed a $2 million school bond for Black Butte School (BBS) with approval of Measure 16-105 in the May 16 election.

The tiny public K-12 district serves K-8 children in Camp Sherman, Blue Lake, and Suttle Lake, with some transfers from Sisters or Sweet Home school districts. After eighth grade, most students transfer into Sisters High School.

The historic two-room schoolhouse has retained the same structure and charm since 1951. Enrollment ranges from 20 to 30 students, and the kids learn together in mixed-age classrooms while utilizing the Metolius Basin as an outdoor learning space. Black Butte School is known for its legacy programs such as the eight-week Ski & Ride Program, spring swimming lessons, annual performing arts events, and heavy focus on field studies.

The Camp Sherman community has not had a chance to vote on a bond since 1963, and, with the age of the building, many improvements are now overdue. The School District was awarded a $2 million Oregon Schools Capital Improvement Matching (OSCIM) grant, with funds contingent on a passing vote. Projects include: a new roof (to replace the current one which has seven layers of shingles including asbestos); HVAC upgrade; new flooring (and asbestos removal in current floor); safety and security improvements with a secure entry and vestibule; energy-efficient windows and improvement to air circulation (to replace non-operable windows); updated restrooms; and expanded instructional space for improved student learning, confidential meetings, and community events.

Current Board Chair Marie Sheahan "Bear" Brown and her twin sister were in first grade when the earlier bond measure was passed in 1963 to build an indoor play area.

"We have always loved Black Butte School," Brown said. "Our other current board members, while newer here, recognize the unique values of this tiny school in the forest - an independent school district since the late 1800s. We voted unanimously to propose this measure. Thank you, Camp Sherman community, for this yes vote on capital improvements, to benefit hundreds of students and families in the next generations."

"We chose to move and raise our girls in Camp Sherman because of Black Butte School," said parent and board member Siobhan Gray. "I clearly remember driving past the school, which sparked an idea that blossomed into reality. BBS welcomed my girls and has nurtured them through the first stages of reading and math, skiing and swimming, and navigating COVID - all while immersed in the beauty and wonder of the Metolius Basin."

Black Butte School officials are deeply grateful to the voters for passing this bond. A bond of this size for a place as small as Camp Sherman is a collective investment by everyone. BBS stated that they are thankful for the trust of the community and committed to using the funds responsibly. The School Board will act as the oversight body to monitor the progress, schedule, and costs. Updates will be provided on the school website once the project begins.


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