There is no doubt that major change is needed in Portland schools. When we think of what is needed, we think of art and music programs, effective teachers, and a budget to support growth. We often overlook the fact that the buildings themselves need upgrades and maintenance. With the average age of our schools at over 65 years, and with only two new schools built in the past 30 years, they are in need of major upgrades.
A Revised Bond Measure for November 2012
Last year, a $548 million dollar bond proposal that would upgrade our school buildings was shot down by voters for being too disorganized, unclear, and expensive for taxpayers ($2 per $1,000 of assessed home value!). The bond went back to the drawing board and in November we will be voting on measure 26-144. The measure states:
“If approved, this measure would finance capital costs, including projects that would:
- Replace leaking, worn, or deteriorating school roofs
- Renovate or replace schools
- Strengthen schools against earthquakes
- Repay loans for capital costs, including 9 roof replacements, 47 boiler conversions, and the Rosa Parks School
- Increase access for students, teachers and visitors with disabilities
- Upgrade science classrooms at middle schools”
What the Bond Will Buy
If passed, the $482 million bond will cost voters $1.10 per $1,000 of assessed home value, dropping to $0.30 after 8 years. Not only will Franklin, Grant, Roosevelt, and Faubion K-8 be completely turned around, but 40 schools will get new science labs, 30 will receive much needed maintenance and renovations, and more. For more information on the types of upgrades schools would be receiving, please see http://www.pps.k12.or.us/about-us/7875.htm#whatschools.
Though 26-144 is a controversial measure, I believe that a well equipped and safe building will improve the quality of education in our schools. I will be voting YES on 26-144.
Our Portland, Our Schools. (2012). About the bond. Retrieved from http://www.ourportlandourschools.com/about-the-bond/
PPS. (2012). Frequently asked questions about 26-144: A proposed school construction bond. Retrieved from http://www.pps.k12.or.us/about-us/7875.htm