Hermiston School District is the largest district in Eastern Oregon, exceeding 5,600 students, and continues to experience steady enrollment growth. It serves students in grades kindergarten through 12 with a broad range of programs from foundational learning skills to comprehensive vocational programs to an exhaustive array of post-secondary college credit-bearing opportunities. The school district includes a 9-12 senior high school, two 6-8 middle schools, five K-5 elementary schools, and a robust online learning program option for students and families.
The district employs about 600 full-time staff, which includes approximately 300 teachers; over 200 classified staff members; and many supervisory, professional, and support personnel, making it one of the largest employers in the city of Hermiston. In a nationally-recognized community that embraces its diversity, the district serves some 28,000 residents, where one-third of the population is Hispanic.
The school district prides itself on the academic achievement of its students, successful athletic programs, nationally-recognized club and activity organizations, and its exhaustive list of academic and elective opportunities available to students. The district’s partnership with community organizations has been central to its continued success, highlighted by support groups who provide nearly a half a million dollars annually to assist students and programs, through such venues as the Hermiston Sports Booster Club, Hermiston Education Foundation, Band Boosters, FFA Alumni, and the community-sponsorship of the student homebuilding program, to name a few.
Support for Hermiston School District has been strong from the community. In 2001 voters approved a $39 million building program, which included the reconstruction of the high school, an additional elementary school, and various district-wide renovations. Voters also approved a $69.9 million bond in 2008. The bond served to replace Armand Larive Middle School, West Park Elementary, and Sunset Elementary.
On November 5, 2019, the Hermiston community approved Bond Measure 30-130, an $82.7 million Hermiston School District 25-year bond. The measure will address student capacity, adding 600-student elementary school on Theater Lane and replacing the district’s oldest school, Rocky Heights Elementary, which was built in 1962. The bond also includes an annex to increase capacity at Hermiston High School, site improvements at elementary schools and property acquisition for future growth.
On April 9, 2020, the district’s AA-credit rating enabled the HSD’s bond underwriter, Piper Sandler, to sell the bonds and refinance $2.8 million of a 2010 bond issue. The district gained an additional $1.7 million in bond premium and afforded the Hermiston community a savings of $382,448.
During the bond campaign, voters were told to expect a steady property tax levy rate of approximately $3.65 per $1,000 of assessed value for the life of the bond. Following the bond sale, rates are now expected to drop in 2030 to approximately $2.16 until 2045.