Board of Education Refers 2020 School Bond Renewal to Voters
Following weeks of public engagement, Portland Public Schools Board of Education voted 7-0 on Tuesday to refer a proposed 2020 School Bond Renewal to voters. If approved by voters, the 2020 School Bond Renewal would maintain the current tax rate and continue investments in Portland schools, including funding for critical educational, health and safety, and school modernization priorities.
If approved, bond funding would also develop and begin implementation of the community-driven concept of a Center for Black Student Excellence, including the full modernization of Jefferson High School.
“I’m excited we are investing in the modernization of Jefferson and focusing on the Center for Black Student Excellence,” PPS Board Director Michelle DePass said during the referral hearing. “It tells our Black students, your education matters. It tells them we care and are listening to your voice. I can’t wait to witness the students we are investing in today.”
“If we’re going to succeed in serving Black students and youth, we’ll have to do it together,” said Guadalupe Guerrero, Superintendent of PPS. “We’re a better school system when we work with our community partners.”
The proposed bond would also complete the modernization of Benson Polytechnic High School; build a facility for the Multiple Pathways to Graduation programs; plan and design for additional capacity at Roosevelt High School; and finalize master planning and design of Cleveland High School and Wilson High School.
In addition to the above school modernization and rebuild projects, the bond would fund educational improvements, including investments in curriculum and instructional materials, and critical technology upgrades, including devices (such as laptops, tablets, assistive technology) that support both distance and classroom learning. The proposed bond also includes funding for critical health and safety improvements throughout the district, including at least $33.8 million for improved accessibility for students, staff, and other people with disabilities; repairs or replacement of outdated roofs and mechanical systems; and improved seismic safety and school security systems.
Specific proposed investments include:
- Provide comprehensive, culturally relevant, and current curriculum materials across core and supplemental subject areas.
- Replace or provide student tablets and laptops to provide equitable access and to support distance and classroom learning, and update classroom and district technology.
- Improve special education classrooms to provide flexible, adaptive learning spaces.
Health & Safety Investments
- Remove barriers to accessibility in schools across the district.
- Repair or replace leaking or deteriorating school roofs.
- Seismically retrofit up to 3 smaller schools.
- Repair or replace high-priority mechanical systems (heating and cooling).
- Update classroom door locks, install security camera systems, and upgrade or replace intrusion alarm systems to strengthen security.
School Modernizations & Rebuilds
- Modernize Jefferson High School, and master plan, design, and fund initial focused investments in neighborhood schools and facilities in North and Northeast Portland, toward a community vision of a Center for Black Student Excellence.
- Design and complete pre-construction work to modernize Cleveland and Wilson High Schools.
- Complete Benson Polytechnic High School and construct an alternative programs building on Benson’s campus.
PPS families, students and members of the community were encouraged to share feedback on the 2020 School Bond Renewal as the PPS Board of Education decided what to refer to voters for consideration on the November ballot through a survey, town hall, direct emails, focus groups with historically underserved communities, and a representative poll. Priorities outlined within the 2020 School Bond Renewal were informed by the recently released Facilities Condition Assessment and community engagement.
Investments in Every School
In 2012 and 2017, voters approved capital bonds that funded improvements to many of Portland Public Schools’ aging buildings that created modern, safer places for students to learn. Over the past eight years, the Portland Public Schools bond program has addressed infrastructure needs at every school throughout district, including:
- Replacing plumbing to reduce lead, improve water quality.
- Removing or encapsulating exposed lead paint and asbestos.
- Upgrading fire alarm and sprinkler systems.
- Repairing or replacing leaking or deteriorating roofs.
- Improving accessibility for people with disabilities.
- Mitigating radon exposure.
- Strengthening school safety and security.
- Upgrading science labs.
In addition, the Bond program has enabled modernizations of Roosevelt, Franklin, and Grant High Schools, rebuilding Faubion PK-8, and completing full plans for Benson’s modernization. Additional projects underway include Madison High School’s modernization and rebuilds of Lincoln High School, and Kellogg Middle School.
The 2020 School Bond Renewal will appear on the November 2020 ballot. If approved by voters, this measure will not increase the overall bond tax rate.
The proposed bond options include investments in three categories:
- Educational Investments in areas like technology and curriculum
- Health & Safety Projects like roof repairs and seismic improvements
- School Modernizations & Rebuilds, including options for Cleveland, Jefferson, and Wilson High Schools.
More information and background on these categories, specific priorities for investment, and proposed bond options:
Share Your Feedback On 2020 School Bond Renewal
Send us your questions and comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland Public Schools is also gathering community feedback through focus groups with historically underserved communities, and a representative poll.
2020 General Election
Transforming Our Schools
The generosity of Portland voters has allowed us to better serve our students and modernize our schools. See a report of how students and staff have benefited from previous bonds and levies: