May 7th, 2011 12:45 pm | News | Posted In: Schools, Politics

Pro-Tax Campaign for Schools Turns to Paid Canvassers

Craigslist ad for Portlanders for Schools

Portlanders for Schools, the election committee with a $1.1 million war chest, plans to hire paid canvassers to go door-to-door for the two Portland Public Schools tax measures on the May 17 ballot.

A spokesman for the pro-tax campaign says it's increasingly difficult to reach voters, especially younger voters, by phone. As a result, the campaign is knocking on doors this weekend and the next to talk to residents about the school district's aging buildings and its shrinking budget for teachers' salaries.

The two tax measures include a $548 million construction bond to renovate schools and a five-year local-option levy that would raise about $59 million a year for teachers' salaries.

Most of the campaign's canvassing will be performed by volunteers, says Ben Unger, a spokesman for Portlanders for Schools. But the campaign now wants to supplement that work with paid door-knockers. "Talking to people is our best way to tell people about the problem," Unger says.

An ad posted on Craigslist yesterday says canvassers can earn $10 an hour for work that is expected to last one week. "Be a part of a grassroots movement," the ad reads."[S]upport our public education by working to protect teacher jobs, build safe schools, and keep class sizes low!"

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