Portland Parents Warn Delays Are Dooming the $750 Million School Bond to Failure

Activists cite the campaign's own polling to show that the bond will struggle in May.

Portland Public Schools' $750 million bond is likely to fail if it goes to voters next May, according to a letter from Portland activists, urging the School Board to proceed with a $750 million bond vote in November.

Citing polling figures that found only 52-percent support for the bond among likely voters in May 2017, the letter from parents and other school advocates urge the School Board to move forward now.

A 60 percent favorable rating is widely considered the minimum needed for voters before a bond campaign begins in earnest.

In July, the School Board abruptly delayed until May going to voters for bond aimed at repairing health and safety hazards as well as Lincoln, Madison and Benson high schools.

Nine months before the May 2011 bond vote the polls showed at least 60 percent in favor, the letter states. That bond narrowly failed, 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.

"On August 16, your political consultant Amy Ruiz said the polling for May was at 52%," say the letter writers, including Stuart Emmons, a member of the 2012 bond development committee.

“If we fail to submit a bond for the November ballot, as you propose to do, the rebuilding of over 70 schools will be at risk of long delays or even stopped all together,” the letter argues.
Board Chair Tom Koehler and Bond Committee Chair Amy Kohnstamm did not respond to requests for comment. Amy Ruiz, of Strategies 360, hired to run the bond campaign, also did not respond to requests for comment.
The full text of their letter is here.

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