Portland Public Schools’ current local option levy was approved by voters in 2014 to provide funding for schools over five years. On Aug. 13. 2019, the PPS Board of Education voted to refer a five-year renewal to the ballot for the Nov. 5, 2019 special election.
If renewed, the levy is estimated to produce $99.9 million for Portland Public Schools in school year 2020-2021.
If approved, the levy would fund teaching positions and classroom supports at every school in the district. Over the past five years, the levy funded an average of 825 teaching positions annually. If approved, that average is estimated to be maintained. These teachers would:
- Represent approximately one-third of all teaching positions in Portland Public Schools.
- Teach core classes, as well as enrichments for elementary and middle grades and electives in varied interest areas and disciplines for high school students.
- Teach career and technical programs and STEM programs, including computer science education, and college and career readiness skills.
- Provide specialized academic support for students, in areas such as reading and math.
If the levy passes, there would continue to be fiscal supervision and independent oversight
- This renewal would maintain the existing local option levy rate of $1.99 per $1,000 assessed value and would provide funds that would be directed to supporting schools.
- If passed, this local option would require independent citizen oversight so that tax dollars would be used for purposes approved by local voters.
- Funds would be placed in a sub-account to facilitate oversight and accurate reporting.
- No funds from this local option levy would be used for district administration.
If passed, the levy would maintain the existing tax rate of $1.99 per $1,000 of assessed value. For a home with an average assessed value of $233,925, the cost would be approximately $39 per month, or $465 per year.
What would the cost to taxpayers be if the local option levy is approved by voters?
The proposed levy would not be a new tax. It would be a renewal of the current levy, first approved by voters in 2011 and renewed in 2014. Currently, homeowners pay $1.99 per $1,000 of assessed home value for the levy. If approved by voters, homeowners would continue to pay the same rate for an additional five years.
What would happen if the local option levy is not approved by voters?
If the levy is not approved in 2019, the assessment would not be made, and Portland Public Schools would not receive the estimated $99.9 million in tax revenue in school year 2020-21, which may result in the loss of up to 825 teaching positions.
Why was this levy referred to the voters?
This school district is funded through state, local and federal dollars. While the Oregon Legislature did increase funding for school districts, there is still a gap between what the state funds for K-12 education and the school district’s proposed expenditures. If approved by voters, the proposed levy would provide funds for the difference in the budget.
The timeline for the process:
- Friday, Aug 16, 2019: Deadline for Special District to file notice of ballot title with County Elections for publication
- Thursday, Sept 5, 2019: Measure filing deadline
- Monday, Sept 9, 2019: Voters' Pamphlet deadline for measure arguments
- Tuesday, Nov 5, 2019: Special Election date
Board Materials For 2019 Levy
New information as of October 10, 2019:
In the ballot measure summary for measure 26-207, there is a transcription error in the estimated revenue produced by the levy in 2024-2025. It was printed as $111.9 million. Based on projected property tax collections, revenue generated from the levy in year 2024-2025 is actually estimated to be $116.9 million. This correction of the 2024-25 estimate does not impact the proposed levy rate; if renewed, the levy maintains the existing local option tax rate of $1.99 per $1,000 assessed value to provide funding for schools over 5 years. If the measure does not pass, the additional assessment would not be made, which may result in the loss of up to 825 teaching positions.