The Portland faculty board on Tuesday voted to check with voters the district’s largest ever development bond measure.
The $1.2 billion effort would extensively renovate Jefferson Excessive College, cowl a whole bunch of tens of millions in price overruns from initiatives voters permitted in 2017 and make investments tens of millions extra in expertise as college students prepare to learn remotely until at least November.
The board voted unanimously to refer the package deal to the poll.
The proposed bond will be part of a bevy of different potential tax measures on the poll, together with a $7 billion transportation package deal put forth by Metro, a city property tax of 80 cents per $1,000 to fund park operations and, doubtlessly, a proposed tax of three.9% on particular person incomes over $165,000 to fund preschool for every Multnomah County child ages three and four.
The Portland Public Faculties measure is available in at about $200 million lower than the $1.4 billion bond district officials originally planned to pitch to voters, which might have extensively renovated Cleveland and Wilson excessive faculties in addition to Jefferson.
The proposal to remake Jefferson, which district officers estimate will cost $311 million, stay almost an identical to the earlier plan.
A ballot the district commissioned of somewhat greater than 2,000 seemingly voters in June confirmed 66% would support a Portland Public Schools bond in November. Pollsters from ALG Analysis mentioned they sometimes search for approvals of 60% or increased to sign assist for a measure that can endure till Election Day.
A possible bond that included in depth renovations to the highschool within the coronary heart of Portland’s traditionally Black neighborhoods noticed three-quarters of respondents expressing approval for the measure.
One other $60 million would fund updates to varsities surrounding Jefferson to develop a Middle For Black Scholar Excellence at the side of the Albina Imaginative and prescient Belief, a nonprofit dedicated to uplifting up the Portland space’s Black inhabitants and restoring vitality to its historic inhabitants, cultural and financial heart.
“If we’re going to reach serving Black college students and youth, we’ll must do it collectively,” Guerrero mentioned. “We’re a greater faculty system once we work with our group companions.”
The nonprofit desires to restore the neighborhood surrounding the North Portland faculty, which was as soon as dwelling to about 80% of town’s Black inhabitants.
Lakeitha Elliott, a Jefferson alumn and legislative assistant in Salem, voiced her assist for the partnership throughout the public remark interval.
“In a approach, I grew up in a middle for Black excellence,” Elliott mentioned, citing her intimate ties to the Albina neighborhood the place neighbors knew one another by identify and pitched in to assist when she wanted mentorship. “I used to be surrounded by individuals who knew my identify and knew my household.”
If handed, the bond would additionally present $64 million to merge the 2 campuses of other highschool Alliance Excessive and find them at Benson Excessive College in internal Northeast Portland. The choice highschool is at present cut up between the Benson campus and a satellite tv for pc campus on Northeast Alberta Avenue.
The second largest chunk of the bond would allocate $152 million to fund development at Benson, which absorbed the majority of price overruns tallied in initiatives voters permitted in 2017, totaling some $230 million.
Quite than regulate the scope of initiatives funded by that bond, district officers opted to roll the price overruns right into a future marketing campaign — the $1.2 billion package deal the board permitted Tuesday.
The bond would additionally present $128 million for expertise and one other $53 million for curriculum, the latter a line merchandise Guerrero pushed for saying it’s been many years since Portland Public Faculties extensively up to date its instructing supplies throughout a number of topics.
“Provided that this district is 20-plus years behind for curriculum adoption in each grade degree, it’s sorely wanted,” board member Amy Kohnstamm mentioned Tuesday.
The cash would go towards the acquisition of Chromebooks to make sure each scholar has entry to a pc for distance studying and in addition fund additional growth of the district’s digital curriculum.
Most district college students might doubtlessly return to lecture rooms by the primary full week of November, officers mentioned.
The bond additionally contains $40 million to advance planning for in depth renovations at Cleveland and Wilson excessive faculties, initiatives voters could also be requested to completely fund in 2024. That effort can also embrace additional development at North Portland’s Roosevelt Excessive to increase the constructing so it may possibly accommodate 1,700 college students. November’s bond supplies $2 million for that planning.
Board members final week approved a last-minute addition to Tuesday’s bond vote.
Chief Working Officer Dan Jung estimates it might price $100 million to carry each district faculty as much as federal accessibility requirements. The proposed bond measure now contains almost $34 million for such upgrades.
Board members all through Tuesday’s assembly characterised their pitch as a renewal of the prevailing tax fee, emphasizing that district taxpayers won’t see a rise — the speed collected by the district will stay at $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed worth. However the measure would require district taxpayers to pay longer on borrowed cash to fund Portland Public Faculties’ capital initiatives.
Michelle DePass, the board’s lone Black member, learn a decision expressing the board’s assist for the inclusion of the Middle for Black Excellence within the poll measure forward of the vote.
“For near 170 years, PPS has failed communities of shade, particularly Black and Native American college students,” she mentioned. “Whereas our dedication to calling out and eradicating racism is obvious in our imaginative and prescient, we additionally know that cultural and institutional racism continues to supply disparities and negatively impression college students of shade.”
DePass lauded the inclusion of initiatives within the traditionally Black Albina neighborhood within the bond, saying it symbolized the district’s first step in doing proper by underserved communities.
“The Middle for Black Scholar Excellence will function a dwelling expression of Portland Public Faculties’ expressed dedication to Black lives,” she mentioned.
A earlier model of this story included an incorrect in-class begin date for the district’s highschool juniors and seniors. It has been up to date.
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