A Closer Look at the PPS School Bond Measure 26-144 (by Guest Blogger Kelsey Robertson)

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:

  • Ÿ  Replace leaking, worn, or deteriorating school roofs
  • Ÿ  Renovate or replace schools
  • Ÿ  Strengthen schools against earthquakes
  • Ÿ  Repay loans for capital costs, including 9 roof replacements, 47 boiler conversions, and the Rosa Parks School
  • Ÿ  Increase access for students, teachers and visitors with disabilities
  • Ÿ  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.

 

Works Cited

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

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3 thoughts on “A Closer Look at the PPS School Bond Measure 26-144 (by Guest Blogger Kelsey Robertson)

  1. I’ve been seeing a lot more of criticism of this bond measure than I expected to see, especially considering the environment that usually surrounds Portland schools. It seems to me that most Portlanders are more than happy to fork over their extra change for the sake of schools. Still, I worry that this won’t pass because I think that some voters aren’t necessarily aware of what is important for our schools, and what needs to be prioritized right now. For example, in the Oregonian this week, an article was published about the bond measure, including some criticism from a woman named Teresa McGuire, who felt that we should be reforming our schools before we repair them. As much as we all would like our schools to be effectively reformed, I hope that our Portland voters still see the importance of this bond measures. Our students should be learning in a safe and fresh environment, not a 100 year old school that isn’t seismic proof and doesn’t have updated science facilities. Because, in reality, any money that goes into the school will likely have a positive effect upon the students’ learning. I sure know what my vote will be!

  2. I think i will also be voting yes on this measure. After working at an inner city school i can tell you that i have seen better bathrooms at rest stop this school is for elementary students. We need to make are schools safe for children even if it means raising taxes a bit they are our future.

  3. Although I do not live in Multnomah County, if I could I would also vote ‘yes’ on this measure because students need a safe, sturdy environment to be able to actively learn and feel comfortable doing so. Recently I visited Roosevelt High School where the students are trying very hard to change the image of the school. Students are working hard to keep their grades up and graduate but the environment is very run down and in desperate need of upgrades and fixing which makes neighborhood perceive this school as not good and simply a typical high school in Portland. I really do hope that this measure passes because it is very important to keep schools up to standard because it will reflect in the perception the students have of their school and urge them to work hard to keep a positive image of their school.

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