Tomorrow, WW issues its endorsements for the two money measures from Portland Public Schools on the May ballot. The first is a $548 million construction bond to rebuild nine schools and update all of the remaining 76 schools in the district, Oregon's largest. The second measure renews and expands an existing operating levy that currently generates about $40 million a year to support PPS. If voters say yes to the new levy in May, that new tax would generate about $59 million a year to pay for teachers' salaries.
Two weeks ago, we hosted representatives from Portlanders for Schools (which advocates passage of both money measures) and Learn Now, Build Later (which wants voters to approve the levy but reject the construction bond). Our one-hour conversation was wide-ranging. Here are some videotaped highlights:
We talked about how safety issues would be addressed in the construction bond. See below.
Learn Now, Build Later here states its objections to the bond measure. "We can all agree the buildings are in awful condition," says Lainie Block Wilker, a Laurelhurst School parent who questions the bond. "I think the question here is, 'Does this bond serve the most students in the worst buildings and are we allocating our very scarce resources to protect and educate as many students as we can at a time of a huge budgetary crisis?"